Iran sees no "logic" in suspending atomic work: TV

(source: Reuters)
Saturday, September 30, 2006

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Friday there was no "reason or logic" to suspending Iran's nuclear work and talks were the only way to resolve a standoff with the West, according to state TV.

Mottaki also said Iran would not use oil as a weapon, a threat officials have sometimes suggested the world's fourth largest oil exporter could resort to if the row escalated.

Iranian and European Union negotiators ended two days of talks on the dispute in Berlin on Thursday without a deal. But both sides suggested there had been some progress without giving details.

"There is no reason or logic to suspending nuclear activities. The foreigners have experienced that using the language of threats and referring (Iran) to the Security Council is ineffective and there is now no option but to hold talks," Mottaki was quoted by state television as saying.

Western nations, which suspect Iran is seeking to build atomic bombs, want Iran to suspend uranium enrichment before negotiations start on an incentives package backed by the United States, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany.

Iran, which says its plans are purely civilian, has rejected suspension as a precondition. But it has suggested some flexibility is possible once talks start.

"The American stance over Iran's nuclear file, based on their remarks, has shifted and Europe is no longer following the previous American stance," Mottaki said.

Washington has been pressing for moves toward sanctions since Iran failed to meet a U.N. deadline to halt enrichment. But it has met resistance from some European states and opposition from Russia and China, both veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council.

"The Islamic Republic will not use the weapon of oil as a political weapon and there is no need to do so," Mottaki was quoted as saying.

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