Tehran, YJC. A top Iranian envoy said Wednesday that increased Western pressure over his country’s nuclear program could end hopes for a negotiated settlement.
Iran’s UN Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee said that his country wants talks, but hit out at Western tactics of sanctions along with engagement.
Khazaee, Iran’s senior diplomat in the United States in the absence of formal ties between the arch-rivals, warned that more sanctions could doom talks over Iran’s nuclear drive, which the West and Israel worry is a cover to build an atomic bomb.
"More pressure can only beget more distrust, leading Iran, in turn, to lose hope in a negotiated settlement,” the envoy said at the Asia Society in New York.
"As long as pressure is on Iran, as long as there is a sword on our neck to come to negotiations, this is not negotiations, therefore Iranians cannot accept that,” added Khazaee, whose country denies that it seeks a bomb but has rejected UN Security Council demands to halt uranium enrichment.
Khazaee said President Barack Obama’s administration declared "economic war” against Iran.
He also stressed that Iranian leaders had welcomed recent US calls for diplomatic talks.
Such meetings should require "mutual respect” between the United States and Iran and "discarding the two-track policy of pressure and engagement.”