Sunday, May 07, 2006

Iran Rejects Annan's Call for Direct Talks With U.S.

Iran, which has the world's second- largest oil and natural gas reserves, rejected a call by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan for the U.S. to hold direct talks with the Islamic Republic about its nuclear program.

``The U.S. isn't prepared to have talks on a one-to-one equal basis,'' Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Asefi told a press conference in Tehran today, broadcast on state television. ``They are following the politics of threat. So under these conditions we see no necessity to start talks with them.'' READ MORE

Annan on May 5 said Iran might be more willing to negotiate in direct talks with the U.S. The U.K. and France, backed by the U.S., proposed a resolution to the UN Security Council on May 3 demanding Iran cease uranium enrichment, and said they would seek sanctions should the government in Tehran fail to comply.

Iran won't accept a resolution that fails to recognize its right to a peaceful nuclear program, Asefi said today. Should the Security Council adopt the proposed resolution it would decrease Iran's willingness to cooperate, he said. The U.S. suspects Iran's nuclear program is aimed at building weapons.

``Halting and suspension is definitely not on Iran's agenda,'' Asefi said.