Iran on Monday rejected US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's
conditional offer that she is ready to hold direct talks with Iran
if Tehran suspends uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities
In an interview with the official IRNA news agency, Iran's chief
nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said that preconditions set by the
United States for holding talks with Iran are unacceptable.
"Setting conditions means indicating the outcome of talks prior
to holding them. Therefore, such a policy has not been answerable
yet," he was quoted as saying.
Larijani reiterated that Iran would be ready to hold talks
without preconditions and asked the United States to make a formal
"Iran will welcome just negotiations on the issue to solve the
existing discords," he said.
He stressed that if the US request is made through official
channels and such talks prove to be constructive and rational, Iran
will be prepared to consider it in a positive way.
Rice said on Sunday that she was prepared to meet her
counterpart or an Iranian representative at any time if Iran would
suspend its enrichment and reprocessing activities.
The US secretary of state has made similar offers before and
stressed that the United States has no intention to have military
confrontation with Iran.
However, Larijani insisted that any country willing to hold
talks with Iran should declare it through an official message.
"We give no credit to such stances revealed through media, given
that by talking through media the American officials pursue other
goals," he was quoted as saying in the interview with IRNA.
His remarks came as representatives of the five permanent
members of the UN Security Council -- Britain, the United States,
France, China and Russia -- plus Germany are scheduled to meet in
London on Monday to discuss further measures against Tehran's tough
Iran, the world's fourth largest oil exporter, says it needs to
enrich uranium as a peaceful, alternative energy source and has the
right to do so under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
However, the West has accused Iran of trying to produce nuclear
weapons under a civilian cover, a charge denied by Tehran.
The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1737 on Dec. 23,
2006, demanding Iran "suspend all enrichment-related and
reprocessing activities, including research and development, and
work on all heavy water-related projects."
Iran has rejected the resolution as an "illegal measure" and
vowed to continue the country's nuclear programs.
(Xinhua News Agency February 27, 2007)