“Iran’s stand regarding its peaceful nuclear program has not changed,” the spokesman, Gholam Hossein Elham, said in his weekly meeting with reporters.
His remarks came a day after Iran formally responded to a proposal of incentives aimed at resolving the impasse over the country’s nuclear program. Iran’s response failed to address the crucial issue of its uranium enrichment activities, according to officials involved in the diplomacy.
Instead, the response, which came in a letter by Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, said that Iran would be willing to open comprehensive negotiations with the EU’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, and the six world powers that proposed the incentives. The letter did not specifically address the proposals they presented last month.
A senior European official involved in the negotiations said Saturday that Mr. Solana would meet with Saeed Jalaili, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, in the second half of July.
The official and others involved in the diplomacy expressed unease that they would be pressured to negotiate with Iran even though it continued enriching uranium.
“There is nothing unexpected in the response, but it forces us to say, ‘They want to negotiate so we want to negotiate,’ ” one official said. “We still have to decide on the conditions for negotiations. We are very skeptical.”
The Iranian response was filled with criticism of the way the six world powers — the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — have conducted the diplomacy.
“The time for negotiating from the condescending position of inequality has come to an end,” the response said, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity under normal diplomatic rules.
The letter added that such treatment “will not remain unnoticed in the eyes of intelligent statesmen.”
It also called UN Security Council sanctions illegal and spoke of a “lack of trust” because of the “duplicitous behavior of certain big powers,” the officials said.
It accused some world powers of interpreting human rights according to their own “self-interest” and causing “irreparable harm” to the nations of the region and their own countries.
In contrast, the letter said, Iran shows a “compassionate approach and behavior” in its international relations and in its efforts to bring stability to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.
It said Iran’s policy on negotiations over its nuclear program was to “find common ground through logical and constructive actions” and a “positive attitude.”
July 6, 2008 NY Times.