Iran Urges Diplomacy to Resolve Nuclear Issues
By Lisa Schlein
14 October 2008
The speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Ali Larijani, is urging Western Powers to resolve their standoff with his country over its nuclear program through diplomatic means. Larijani says sanctions and the use of other force will not work. Larijani is attending a meeting of Parliamentary leaders convened by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from Geneva.
Ali Larijani is Iran's former negotiator on nuclear issues. But, he remains consistent with the positions he held while he was in charge.
Larijani says Iran's nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes. He rejects demands by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, also known as the Five Plus One that Iran freeze its uranium-enrichment program as a pre-condition to talks.
He says Iran will not give into threats. In a reference to the U.S. position of not ruling out any option, he says diplomacy is a much better way of achieving results than by using arms.
He says he was surprised to see the Five Plus One abandon the negotiating table. He criticizes the United States and Britain for going hastily to the U.N. Security Council to ask for additional sanctions upon Iran.
"Maybe they wanted to show to the world that after the recent crisis, international crisis, that they are able to be together to have one voice," he said. "To show that Five Plus One is still alive and still can take actions. What they have done is undermined the credibility, the very prestige of the U.N. Security Council. Although, I think the door to negotiations is open. They can continue. It is not dead."
In June, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany, offered Iran a series of diplomatic and economic incentives in return for its promise to suspend uranium enrichment.
Iran ignored an ultimatum imposed this week by the United States, Britain and France for a clear response to their offer. Tehran said it would not be pressured by deadlines, but would respond at its own pace.
The Western Powers accuse Iran of trying to build an atomic bomb. Iran insists its nuclear program is purely for peaceful energy purposes. And, that it has a right under the nuclear non-proliferation agreement to develop such a program.
Larijani says the Five Plus One should sit around a table and talk. He says so-called carrots and sticks and methods of intimidation will not produce any results.
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