Iran vows to stick to nuclear 'path'

2012-04-02 17:05

Tehran - Iran declared on Monday it will not be swayed from its nuclear "path" by sanctions, a week before talks with world powers that are increasingly seen as a last chance for diplomacy in its showdown with the West.

"The sanctions may have caused us small problems but we will continue our path," Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi vowed in an interview with the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

"We do not underestimate any enemy, no matter how tiny and lowly they are. The regime's officials - the supreme leader, the president, the army, the [Revolutionary] Guards and Basij [militia] - are completely vigilant. And the nation is prepared to defend the achievements of Islamic Iran," he said.

The defiant words came after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Saturday that the talks between Iran and the world powers would take place on April 13 and 14 in Istanbul.

She and US President Barack Obama have both publicly said that the window for diplomacy in the standoff over Iran's nuclear programme is closing.

"Our policy is one of prevention, not containment," Clinton said in Saudi Arabia after talks with her Gulf Arab counterparts.

Four sets of sanctions

It is up to Iran to engage in the talks "with an effort to obtain concrete results", Clinton said.

Israel - the sole if undeclared nuclear weapons state in the Middle East - and the United States have threatened military strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities if diplomacy and sanctions fail to curb the Islamic republic's nuclear ambitions.

The UN Security Council has imposed four sets of sanctions on Iran because of suspicions over its nuclear programme, which the United States and its allies believe includes a drive to develop atomic weapons capability.

The West has imposed its own unilateral economic sanctions on Iran.

But Iran's oil minister, Rostam Qasemi, told the Mehr news agency on Monday that the West's efforts to curb Iranian oil exports "have been a failure".

"We have seen off what they describe as 'rigorous sanctions' against the oil industry," he said.

Psychological gambit

Iran denies any military dimension to its nuclear activities.

Its supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has called nuclear weapons a "sin". But he has also refused to bow to sanctions, and warned Iran would retaliate in kind if attacked.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast said in an interview with the Fars news agency that Iran considered the talk of war to be a "psychological" gambit "to affect the Iranian nation, to lower the support of the people for the system".

But, he said, "our readiness [to ward off any threat] is at its peak. We take any threat, even those with a low probability of happening, seriously.

"If any practical action, either surgical or long-lasting, is taken, we will respond decisively."

The talks between Iran and the P5+1 group - the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany - are seen as an opportunity to defuse the tense situation.

EU officials in Brussels said that, despite Clinton's affirmation, Istanbul had not yet been fully confirmed as the venue.

Oil imports

"The talks are scheduled to start late on the 13th and will be held primarily on the 14th," one EU diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

They will "very likely" take place in Istanbul, but all parties had not yet reached complete agreement, the diplomat said.

A spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who represents the P5+1 in the negotiations, said only: "We will announce it [the venue] formally once we have full agreement."

The last round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 group was held in Istanbul in January 2011 and ended in failure. Geneva hosted the round before that in late 2010.

The United States is poised to bolster unilateral sanctions that are already making it harder for Iran to sell its vital oil exports. Countries that do not reduce Iranian oil imports risk being targeted by US sanctions.

But Salehi stressed to IRNA: "The West thinks that Iran is like many other countries who will yield under America's pressure. But they are mistaken."

He said Iran had resisted Western pressure ever since it became an Islamic republic following its 1979 revolution. And he said the United States would be forced to retreat from its positions if Iranian "national unity" was strengthened.

  • Jaba - 2012-04-02 17:11

    Iran vows to stick to 'path' of mass destruction.

      Rational100 - 2012-04-02 17:23

      ....pure speculation...vs....real increase in the price of crude.

      Fred - 2012-04-02 18:30

      Rational, it's not speculation. The IAEA has said Iran is hiding two nuclear facilities. Think about it: the US in recession is willing to shoulder further increases in oil prices, so serious is this situation.

      Fred - 2012-04-02 18:33

      Patrick, SA banks will not be allowed acces to the US financial markets if the SA government continues to buy oil from the Iranian regime which is a real threat to the fewer world.

      Fred - 2012-04-03 01:22

      Patrick, you're adding words to my comment. As for your statement about US financial markets, thankfully your foolishness will not be followed by our government.

      Fred - 2012-04-03 01:29

      As for your request for an article that states the Iranian regime is hiding two sites with nuclear weapons: that has to be one of your dumbest statements yet. Think about it.

      Fred - 2012-04-04 13:54

      Your Ego is stilll ruling your perceptions Patrick.

  • Aaron - 2012-04-02 17:45

    Iran has balls to stand up against the west unlike the puppet arab regimes

      Nigel - 2012-04-02 17:53

      no! Iran is determined to gain nuclear weapons at the expense of world economy & probably world peace, so that they can destroy Israel, which they has already said in no uncertain terms that they will want to do.

      Fred - 2012-04-02 18:35

      Why do you choose to pretend to be Jewish "Aaron"? You're manipulative in your attitude and faulty in your world view, this much is patently clear.

  • Gershon Hutchinson - 2012-04-02 17:50

    World War 3, coming to a city near you.

  • Jacob - 2012-04-02 18:29

    Bring me my machine gun

  • nico.vanvuuren - 2012-04-02 19:52

    America sit on the biggest stockpile of nukes and is the only country that have used nukes on innocent people! Yet they dictate to the rest of the world who are allowed to have access to nuclear weapons and who not. Hypocrites!

      Africa21stcentury - 2012-04-02 20:43

      Nico, That's true what you say, but still not enough reason for Iran to have nuclear weapons !! I believe the USA, Russia, W Europe,and China, will stick together on this one: NO FURTHER COUNTRIES WITH A NUCLEAR ARSENAL !!! Even , if there is a suspicion, of ANY country , has facilities, that could be used for the manufacture of nuclear bombs; FLATTEN IT !!!

      Fred - 2012-04-03 01:23

      When did the US use nuclear weapons on innocent people?

      Fred - 2012-04-03 01:27

      And do you want the terrorist-funding Iranian regime to have nuclear weapons?

      Boaz - 2012-04-03 07:37

      Innocent people? I don’t think so bru. The Bomb was used to end WW2 – The Japanese themselves have claimed that if the bomb was not used the war would have continued for a few more years killing many more. The US and other rational countries would never use the Bomb again – Iran is planning on wiping another member state of the United Nations off the map and they are trying to build THE bomb – you do the math.

  • Etienne - 2012-04-03 13:05


      Carla - 2012-04-03 13:41 believe that nonsense?? Conspiracy theories....

      Fred - 2012-04-03 15:14

      Way out there on the lunatic fringe of society, irrelevant, uninformed, powerless. Fun to think about but not to believe. That's where you go wrong, and are wrong.

      Fred - 2012-04-04 14:07

      Patrick, your perception is dominated by your Ego. Being on the lunatic fringe is a figure of speech. He may or may not be an actual lunatic.

  • Shehab - 2012-04-06 16:17


      Fred - 2012-04-09 13:36

      Narrow, ignorant and shallow tribal thinking. The Iranian regime, distinct from the Iranian people, funds terrorism that has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of mainly MUSLIM civilians with car bombs and suicide attacks.

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