Salehi Urges West’s Cooperation to Avert Iran Showdown

Iran’s foreign minister urged Western powers to reach an accord with Iranian officials over the country’s nuclear program or risk a confrontation, the Iranian Students’ News Agency reported.

“The other side has no choice but to come to an agreement with Iran,” ISNA cited Ali Akbar Salehi as saying. “Otherwise, instead of interaction, the next option will be confrontation, and I don’t believe that any rational mind is after confrontation given the latest developments in the region.”

European Union sanctions against Iran banning imports of the country’s crude oil took effect yesterday. The restrictions build on earlier U.S. and United Nations measures limiting trade and financial transactions with the Persian Gulf country.

Three rounds of discussions this year between Iran and the five permanent United Nations Security Council members -- China, France, Russia, the U.K., the U.S. -- plus Germany have failed to reach a breakthrough. Technical experts representing the parties are meeting for further talks tomorrow in Istanbul.

In comments aimed at Iranians, Salehi sought to boost morale, calling on the nation to unite in the face of the additional punitive measures.

“We have been subjected to sanctions for the past 33 years,” he said in an interview with the state-run Fars news agency today, referring to the start of the Islamic Republic in Iran. The latest measures “come in addition to previous ones, and it isn’t a problem.”

Iranians must “show national unity and have resistance and patience against these sanctions because one has to pay the costs for preserving one’s independence,” he was quoted as saying by Fars.

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