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Iran Press TV

US threatens more Iran sanctions, 'diplomacy suspension' just before talks

Iran Press TV

Thu Apr 4, 2013 9:42AM GMT

In what appears to be a customary US publicity campaign against Iran just prior to its multifaceted talks with the P5+1 group, an American press report has cited ‘a top administration official’ to threaten Tehran with ‘more sanctions’ and ‘suspension of diplomacy’ if it fails to offer the response that Washington desires.

“The pressure will only increase if Iran doesn’t begin to take concrete steps and actions,” an unnamed “senior administration official” is cited as saying in a Thursday report by major US daily The Los Angeles Times just a day before Iranian officials are to begin the second round of their latest talks with the P5+1nuclear powers, the five permanent UN Security Council members - China, Britain, France, Russia and the US - plus Germany.

According to the report, the Obama administration “pressed Iran to respond to the latest bid” by the six nuclear nations, “warning that the United States and its allies may step up sanctions and suspend diplomacy” if Iran does not offer a “substantive and concrete” response during the upcoming comprehensive talks that is due to begin Friday in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The reported attitude of US officials echoes almost exactly the argument of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in a recent speech that the American establishment uses negotiations as a tactic and not a sincere engagement, dictating the terms, the questions and the responses.

Referring to the US government as “the center of conspiracy and the basis of hostility towards the Iranian nation,” Ayatollah Khamenei emphasized that “negotiation is an American tactic for deceiving the public opinion and if it is otherwise the Americans should prove it.”

On Iran’s comprehensive negotiations with the P5+1, Ayatollah Khamenei further insisted that Washington does not want the talks to come to a conclusion, saying, “With regard to the nuclear issue, Iran only wants the recognition of its rights to enrichment.”

The Leader also cited US claims that they intend to be sincere in their talks with Iran but reminded Washington that “we have repeatedly asserted that we do not seek nuclear weapons but you do not believe this honest word; [so] why should we accept your words?”

According to the Times report, in the first round of Almaty talks, Iran was offered “limited relief from sanctions, including permission to use gold as a currency for petroleum trade” in exchange for virtually abandoning its nuclear energy program.

It then cites a senior US official as claiming on Wednesday that “Iranian officials have said they were pleased by the offer presented during the last round of talks in Almaty on February 26, but they have so far given no indication that they will provide a counteroffer in meetings scheduled for Friday and Saturday (April 5-6).”

This is while the Leader also underlined in his March 21 address that the US seeks to prolong the course of the P5+1 talks in an attempt to “paralyze” the Iranian nation, noting that top American officials have openly boasted that they intend to cripple Iran with their illegal sanctions.

“Iran will never be crippled and if the Americans want the issue to be over, there is one simple solution which is the US should put aside its hostility with the Iranian nation,” he said.

Ayatollah Khamenei further alluded in his address to the repeated American offers of direct talks with the Islamic Republic and said, “Through different ways and messages, the Americans try to negotiate with us on the nuclear issue, but I am not optimistic about these talks.”

Meanwhile, the Times report also cites “some experts” as suggesting that the upcoming talks in Almaty may yield “a rare meeting between Iranian and American diplomats.”

It is not, however, clear on what basis US “experts” and officials express optimism for a direct meeting between American and Iranian negotiators during the upcoming talks.

The development comes as Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said on Wednesday that despite the usual negative attitude of P5+1 negotiators in their talks with Iran, they displayed a new, more reasonable approach during the latest talks in Almaty.

He further expressed optimism that such an approach would continue in the upcoming talks, leading to a mutual understanding between the two sides and the resolution of outstanding issues.