Iran’s United Nations envoy Mohammad Khazaee said threats against his country won’t help in negotiations over its nuclear program.
“Threatening Iran is not going to work,” Khazaee said in an interview with CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” program scheduled to air today. He cited the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war following the attack by the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, “a war which was supported, you remember, by the U.S. and western countries and even some Arab countries.”
World powers, led by the U.S., are seeking a deal to curb the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, which they say may have a secret military dimension, in return for ending economic sanctions imposed to punish Iran for illicit atomic work.
While Iran would accept direct talks over its nuclear program with the U.S., any additional “pressure” to drive Iran to the negotiating table would backfire, Khazaee told CNN.
“Iran welcomes negotiation and direct talks with the United States, provided that we make sure that the U.S. is serious and do not act differently,” Khazaee said. “My point is, as soon as you say, we are ready to talk to you and work with you, but at the same time, we punish you and put pressure on you and your people -- Iranians cannot accept that.”
Iran and six world powers last week agreed on further meetings after two days of talks in Kazakhstan, the first since negotiations broke down in June, 2012. On CNN, Khazaee repeated the Iranian view that the talks were a “turning point” with the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.
The group offered to ease restrictions on its exports of petroleum products and some additional items in exchange for Iran’s agreeing to cease its output of 20 percent enriched uranium, according to Russian negotiator Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
Technical talks are scheduled to be held in Istanbul on March 18, and political discussions with international negotiators will resume in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on April 5-6, according to Iran’s negotiator Saeed Jalili.