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Sanctions 'most ridiculous' act against Iran: Ahmadinejad
by Staff Writers
Tehran (AFP) Oct 30, 2010

Imposing sanctions on Iran has been the "most ridiculous and failed" move adopted by the world powers, the country's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday.

"Imposing sanctions on Iran was the most ridiculous political decision ever. It was a failed thing from the beginning," Ahmadinejad said in an interview broadcast live on state television.

Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly dismissed UN and other unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear programme, reiterated that the punitive measures were like "torn paper" which failed to hurt Iranians.

"What do you want to sanction? Energy. We are energy producers. We have the second largest reserves of energy products in the world," he said.

The United Nations and world powers have imposed sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend its controversial nuclear programme which has ploughed ahead under the presidency of Ahmadinejad.

The six major world powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- have proposed to hold talks with Iran on the issue from November 15.

The talks between the two sides have been deadlocked for more than year, with the last round held in Geneva.

Ahmadinejad reiterated the talks must be held on "the basis of justice and respect" but said the tone of negotiations would depend on what answers the world powers give to Iran's set of questions.

"We will negotiate with enemies in one way and with friends in another way," he said, indicating that the response to Iran would colour Tehran's tone during the discussions.

Ahmadinejad and several other top Iranian officials have insisted the world powers, among other issues, must explain during the talks the aim of holding the negotiations and reveal the status of Israel's nuclear arsenal.

Iran has always insisted the talks be held on the basis of its own proposals and foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast this week said there must be agreement on an agenda.

Israel, which has not ruled out a military strike against arch-foe Iran to stop its nuclear programme, is believed to be the sole if undeclared nuclear power in the Middle East.

earlier related report
Iran agrees to resume nuclear talks next month: EU's Ashton
Brussels (AFP) Oct 29, 2010 - Iran agreed Friday to resume long-stalled nuclear talks with world powers after November 10, the European Union's foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said.

In a letter to Ashton, who represents the six powers negotiating with Tehran over its disputed nuclear programme, Iran said its chief negotiator Saeed Jalili was ready to restart the talks "from November 10th on, in a place and on a date convenient to both sides."

"I think it's a significant move and we're now in touch with Iran to see if we can agree the time and the place which is possible," Ashton said at an EU summit.

Ashton had offered to relaunch the talks in Vienna in mid-November.

An informed source said Iran might prefer the talks to be held in Geneva. Dates would be between November 10 and 25, the source added.

The Iranian letter, seen by AFP, states however that Jalili "is prepared to resume the talks based on his letter of 6 July 2010" to Ashton.

Iran has always insisted the talks be held on the basis of its own proposals and foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast this week said there must be agreement on an agenda.

"While we do need to come to a conclusion on the date and place for the talks, the content of the negotiations should also be agreed by the two sides," he said.

The talks would be the first high-level encounter between Iran and the so-called P5+1 that groups the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia since a round held October 1, 2009 in Geneva.

The nuclear negotiations aim to address international suspicion that Iran is seeking to develop atomic weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear programme, a charge Tehran vehemently denies.

Faced by the talks deadlock, the United Nations Security Council on June 9 reinforced international economic sanctions, with the United States and EU taking separate measures -- all of which Tehran brushed off as having no impact.

Sanctions notably ban investments in oil, gas and petrochemicals while also targeting banks, insurance, financial transactions and shipping.

Friday's long-awaited response from Tehran comes a day after the US warned Iran's continued uranium enrichment meant any new offer by world powers on its nuclear programme would be more burdensome than one it had already rejected.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday that increased expectations required for any deal reflected the fact that Iran's enriched uranium stocks were now larger than they were when previous talks broke down last year.

"Based on the unilateral actions that they took, they have increased their enrichment," Gibbs said.

"In order to live up to the responsibilities that they have made and to lift any sanctions, they would have great responsibilities," Gibbs said.

Gibbs spoke after the New York Times reported that the Obama administration and its European allies were preparing a new, more onerous offer for Iran than the one rejected by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last year.

The offer would require Iran to send more than 4,400 pounds of (1,995 kilograms) of low-enriched uranium out of the country, an increase of more than two-thirds from the amount required under a deal struck in Vienna.


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US: new Iran nuclear proposal would have tougher terms
Washington (AFP) Oct 28, 2010
The United States warned Thursday that Iran's continued uranium enrichment meant that any new offer by world powers on its nuclear program would be more burdensome than one it had already rejected. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said increased expectations required for any deal reflected the fact that Iran's enriched uranium stocks were now larger than they were when previous talks broke ... read more

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