Left: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, courtesy of GlobalSecurity.org
(Tehran) Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran does not need talks with the US over its controversial nuclear enrichment program because the nation would gain nothing through such aforum, Iranian state television reported today.
Washington has said it will join EU states in talks with Iran if Tehran agrees to halt uranium enrichment, but Iran appears to be holding the line on gaining recognition of its right to produce enriched uranium.
"Negotiations with the United States would have no benefit for us, and we do not need them," state television quoted Khamenei as telling Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade. "We do not negotiate with anybody on achieving and exploiting nuclear technology. But if they recognize our nuclear rights, we are ready to negotiate about controls, supervisions and international guarantees."
US officials believe Iran is enriching uranium in order to produce nuclear weapons, but Tehran claims it is only interested in peaceful energy purposes. A a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran is entitled to pursue such technology.
Iran has yet to reply to the incentives package presented on June 6. The package offers the lifting of some sanctions and other economic incentives, as well as a promise of US and EU nuclear technology for Iran.