Khatami Says No Room for Talks With US
TEHRAN, 9 October 2003 Irans President Mohammad Khatami said yesterday there was no room for negotiations with the United States, whom he accused of waging an international pressure campaign against the Islamic republic.
The United States has always shown animosity toward us, and has always raised accusations against Iran and has used international means to pressure Iran. They have nothing to say to us and we have nothing to say to them, Khatami told reporters.
As long as the United States uses underhand means, I think there is no room for discussions, he said, adding it was up to Washington to take the first step and show it wishes to change its policy.
Khatami resorted to a footballing metaphor yesterday when pressed on his woes with the UNs atomic energy watchdog, predicting an IAEA ultimatum would go into extra time.
We havent reached the 90th minute yet, the president of the football-mad Islamic republic said when asked if Iran would wait until the last minute before bowing to an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) deadline.
And frequently there is five to six minutes of extra time, added Khatami as he left a Cabinet meeting. The IAEAs board of governors on Sept. 12 gave Iran until the end of this month to guarantee it is not developing and will not develop nuclear weapons. Iran has said it is not bound by the resolution passed after heavy US lobbying but will nevertheless try to answer the IAEAs concerns.
Tehran expects shortly to sign a nuclear agreement with Moscow that would allow Irans first nuclear power plant to go on-stream, the Iranian ambassador to Russia said yesterday.
Negotiations are taking place to iron out some technical issues. We hope that the protocol will be signed very shortly either in Tehran or Moscow, the envoy Gholamreza Shafei was quoted as saying by the Itar-Tass news agency. Russia is building Irans first nuclear power reactor, but says it will not begin delivering nuclear fuel needed to operate the plant until Tehran signs a deal pledging to return the spent material to Russia.
Under pressure from the US and Israel which fear that Iran is developing nuclear weapons Russia has made the return of the spent fuel a key condition for concluding the $800 million project.
Moscow officials assert that negotiations over the Bushehr plant have broken down over Irans demand for Russia to buy back the spent fuel.
In another development, Khatami vowed to do everything possible to deliver free and fair parliamentary elections in February, despite his failure to push through a key electoral reform bill, the official news agency IRNA reported. http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4§ion=0&article=33295&d=9&m=10&y=2003&pix=world.jpg&category=World