|Sanctions show West unwilling to engage in ‘meaningful’ dialogue with Iran: UN envoy||
TEHRAN - The Iranian ambassador to the United Nations has said that the decision by the United States and certain European countries to intensify pressure and sanctions against the Islamic Republic illustrates that they are not willing to engage in meaningful negotiations.
Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee made the remarks in New York on Friday during a rare press conference convened by Iran’s United Nations mission to present its view of talks between negotiators from Tehran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) who agreed during the talks in Moscow on June 18 and 19 to hold expert meetings in Istanbul on July 3.
According to the New York Times, Khazaee spoke a day after a new American law took effect that penalized countries that did business with the Central Bank of Iran by denying their banks access to the United States market.
His comments also came two days ahead of the implementation of the oil embargo that the European Union has imposed on Iran.
“The USA and some Europeans have said they are going to increase their pressure and sanctions against us,” Khazaee said, adding, “This by itself indicates that they are not willing to engage with us in a meaningful dialogue.”
While expressing hope for progress, he said, “At the same time it is clear to us that some members of the 5-plus-1, for whatever reasons, obviously and mainly political reasons, are not forthcoming and serious enough for finding a solution,” according to the New York Times.
“If the talks do not proceed as they should,” he added, “we are going to have another standoff in the talks. Therefore, we can say that we are at a critical point in our talks with some members of the 5-plus-1.”
He also restated Iran’s contention that the sanctions had to be rescinded before negotiations could succeed. But he also said sanctions pressure would do nothing to change the Iranian position in the dispute. “We have learned how to cope with these problems,” he said.
CBS also quoted the Iranian ambassador as saying, “Iranians have learned how to deal with pressure in the past, in our history, everybody knows that the Iranian nation do(es) not accept any pressure or sanctions. Sanctions may be intended to harm the Iranian nation but they will not bring Iranian to their knees to accept illegitimate, I should say, expectations from the other side.”
Khazaee also criticized the West’s double standard of suspecting the motives of Iran but not those of Israel, which has nuclear weapons and has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
“Again, as we indicated in Moscow talks, we are ready to make bridge between our proposals and that of (the) 5+1 and find common denominators in the two proposals. We believe that we should start with low hanging fruits first. But if the other side wants a cherry pick then I am afraid we will not have any fruits at all,” he stated, CBS reported.
He also said that the main sticking point was the issue of Iran’s right to uranium enrichment, which was permitted under the NPT.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Khazaee reiterated the comments that the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, who is Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, made in a letter to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who represents the 5+1 group in nuclear negotiations with Iran, which was published on Thursday.
He distributed to reporters an English translation of Jalili’s letter, Reuters reported.
“There is no doubt that any gesture which damages the confidence-building process would be counterproductive,” Jalili wrote, adding that “those who replace logic with illegitimate means in the talks shall be accountable for any damage to the productive process of the talks.”
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