Iran doesn’t have a policy of carrying out pre-emptive strikes to counter threats, the country’s ambassador to Russia said.
The Persian Gulf state is seeking to defuse tensions over its nuclear program after officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency were denied access to a military base in Parchin during two days of meetings that ended yesterday. An Iranian general, Mohammad Hejazi, said his nation would consider pre-emptive action when threatened, Fars news agency reported yesterday.
“We have no policy of taking action to pre-empt attacks against us,” Mahmoud-Reza Sajjadi said in an interview in the Iranian embassy in Moscow today, adding that he heard a recording of the general’s speech. “Fars isn’t the official agency of the government, IRNA is,” he said, referring to the Islamic Republic News Agency.
Allegations about the possible military aim of Iran’s nuclear program have led the U.S. and the European Union to tighten economic sanctions. The U.S. and Israel haven’t ruled out air strikes against Iran’s atomic facilities, escalating tensions in a region that’s home to 54 percent of global oil reserves.
“In Iran, we’ve heard nothing about the IAEA requesting a visit to Parchin,” Sajjadi said. “Parchin isn’t a place where nuclear activities are being carried out, but is part of Iran’s defense industry.”
Iran has rejected United Nations demands to suspend uranium enrichment, which can be used both for generating electricity and making nuclear warheads. Negotiations broke down in January 2011 after talks in Istanbul between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- China, France, Russia, the U.K. and U.S. -- as well as Germany.
China may host a new round of talks over Iran’s nuclear plans between the six countries involved in the negotiations, Sajjadi said.
“I heard that members of the club are still talking about the date and place,” he said. “But the mediators have yet to reach consensus”
Iran sent the EU a letter last week asking for negotiations over its nuclear program to resume at the “earliest possibility,” according to a copy of the one-page document obtained by Bloomberg. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and EU foreign policy head Catherine Ashton met Feb. 18 and said they are reviewing the Iranian offer.
Iran is still waiting for an official response to the letter, Sajjadi said.