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Iranian Letter Rejects Pressure on Nuclear Issue - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran delivered a letter to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Monday which stressed, according to Iranian media, that foreign pressure on Tehran would not resolve the dispute over its nuclear program.

The letter was handed to Solana, who has represented six major powers in nuclear talks with Iran, by Iran’s ambassador to the European Union, Solana’s spokeswoman Cristina Gallach said.

Iranian reports said the letter from Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili was addressed to the foreign ministers of the six powers: the United States, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia.

“In the process of talks, pressure cannot resolve the issue,” the ISNA news agency quoted Jalili as saying, giving no further information about the content of the letter.

Iran’s Press TV said in a headline: “Iran rejects any pressure on its nuclear program.”

Gallach said she did not know the contents. “But the letter is now in the hands of Mr. Solana,” she said.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Robert Wood said he could not comment on the contents until after the United States had consulted with the other five powers.

NUCLEAR ARMS

The West fears the Islamic Republic, the world’s fourth-largest oil producer, is seeking to build nuclear arms.

Iran says it only wants to generate electricity and has repeatedly ruled out halting uranium enrichment, which can have both civilian and military purposes. Its refusal to do so has drawn three rounds of U.N. sanctions since 2006.

“The two-page letter reflects Iran’s view over the handling of the nuclear case by the six powers,” Ahmad Khademolmelleh, a spokesman for Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said.

He told Reuters it would also be delivered to the Swiss embassy in Tehran. Switzerland represents U.S. interests in the country since Washington severed ties with Iran shortly after its 1979 Islamic revolution.

Iran’s Press TV quoted Jalili as saying Iran’s approach was constructive. “Iran says it has fully cooperated with the IAEA and G5+1,” it said in a headline, referring to the Vienna-based nuclear watchdog and the six powers.

Jalili and Solana last discussed Tehran’s nuclear program by telephone in August.

The U.N. Security Council in September passed a resolution that again ordered Tehran to halt enrichment but imposed none of the new sanctions Washington and its allies want.

Iran has dismissed the latest resolution as “unconstructive” and again made clear on Monday it would not bow to the pressure.

“There is no reason for us to change our strategy, which is not to suspend enrichment,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi told a news conference.

The six powers offered in June to hold off from seeking further sanctions if Iran freezes expansion of its nuclear work. Iran responded with a non-committal letter and Western countries said they would look at stepping up sanctions on Tehran.

But Russia and China, which gave reluctant backing to three previous sanctions resolutions that included asset freezes and travel bans on specific Iranian individuals and companies, are blocking further U.N. measures for the time being.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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