Iran Accuses P5+1 of Dragging Feet in Negotiations

Iran accused world powers of dragging their feet in negotiations over its nuclear activities.

Rachel Hirshfeld,

Iranian President Ahmadinejad
Iranian President Ahmadinejad
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Iran accused world powers on Tuesday of dragging their feet in negotiations over its nuclear activities, as both sides were about to hold a new, downgraded round of talks in Istanbul, AFP reported.

Foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast asserted that if the powers ignored Iran's nuclear “rights” and failed to bargain on equal terms, the negotiations could lead to an “impasse.”

“All that can reinforce the idea that there is a desire to drag out the negotiations or prevent their success,” he said.

He also said that “illogical, irresponsible” Western sanctions “amount to a hostile act against Iran and its national interests.”

“Iran will do its utmost to defend its national interests and territorial integrity,” he added.

Iran and the P5+1 group, comprising the five U.N. Security Council permanent members plus Germany, were to hold an experts-level meeting in Istanbul to discuss efforts to rein in Tehran's nuclear activities.

The talks were to take place between technical experts after three previous rounds earlier this year failed to bring about desired results.

The P5+1 is pushing for an immediate end to Iran enriching uranium to 20 percent purity, which is simply a technical step short of the 90 percent needed to make nuclear bombs, and to ship out its existing 20-percent stock and close a fortified underground enrichment facility in Fordo.

Mehmanparast said the P5+1’s negotiating position and the Western sanctions suggested that maybe the world powers did not want to see the talks bear fruit, according to the AFP.

“Many people are starting to conclude that maybe there are specific goals in dragging out the talks and preventing their success. One option is that perhaps there is a link with the U.S. (presidential) election” in November, he said.

He said the “illegal” sanctions contradicted the West’s affirmation that it wants to resolve the standoff diplomatically.

He reiterated his government’s message that the sanctions would not coerce it into a change of position.