Iran's Ambassador to the UN Mohammad Javad Zarif said Friday that his country is willing to limit its uranium enrichment capability in its facilities to ensure the nuclear fuel produced is not used to develop nuclear weapons.
Speaking to reporters at his residence, Zarif said Tehran is prepared for further steps to ensure fuel produced is not re-enriched and used for the production of weapons.
He added that Iran wants to work directly with the United States on an "easily attainable" resolution, if Washington drops "the intimidation tactics," CNN reported.
"We are prepared to engage in serious discussion in order to resolve this issue, and we have not made any exception with regard to the United States," Zarif said.
However, he said, Washington must acknowledge that Iran has a right to nuclear technology under the nuclear nonproliferation treaty before Iran and the US could have any meaningful discussion.
At the same time, Zarif said, Iran would have to acknowledge that it has a responsibility not to pursue nuclear weapons.
This is in Iran's best interests, he said, because "from a sober, strategic analysis, Iran's security will be decreased by possession or pursuit of nuclear weapons, rather than increased."
The United States could get further with Iran if it were to "ban the pressure tactics, the intimidation tactics" and talk with Iran directly, rather than through European nations and the United Nations, he said.
'Iran likes respect'
The statement came the day after the International Atomic Energy Agency pleaded with Iran to continue talks with European nations that want to offer it incentives in exchange for ending its nuclear-enrichment program.
As for the incentives package, Zarif said a "carrot-and-stick" approach is not the way to proceed with negotiations.
"It's not whether Iran likes carrots," he said. "Iran likes respect. Iran demands respect. If there is to be a solution in Iran, Iran has to be part of the solution."
US President George W. Bush, speaking at a news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, rejected the idea of approaching Iran with incentives.
"They're the ones who walked away from the table," he said. "It's on them."
Iran, he said, "needs a government that is going to recognize that part of being a great country is to be in line with your international obligations."
Meanwhile, Iran’s foreign minister rejected a US offer of direct talks on Iraq Friday and warned his country would retaliate against any American attack as Tehran hardened its position against international pressure to stop uranium enrichment.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki also got a boost from his Iraqi counterpart, who said Iran has the right to peaceful nuclear research, a stance that runs counter to US efforts to force Tehran to stop all nuclear activities amid fears it is seeking to develop atomic weapons.
Mottaki said Iran had decided to hold talks with Washington on Iraq but changed its mind because he said the Americans had raised “other issues.”
AFP contributed to the report