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Ahmadinejad seeks 'interactive policy' Photo: Reuters
Ahmadinejad seeks 'interactive policy' Photo: Reuters
Obama willing 'to talk directly' Photo: AP, Meet the Press
Obama willing 'to talk directly' Photo: AP, Meet the Press

Iran: We won't halt nuke work despite US

Islamic Republic's Foreign Ministry says Tehran will never suspend uranium enrichment, expects Washington to change its 'failed' carrot-and-stick approach to solving atomic row

Published: 12.08.08, 10:59 / Israel News

Iran will never halt its nuclear work and expects the United States to change its "failed" carrot-and-stick approach to solving the atomic row with Tehran, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.


US President-elect Barack Obama said on Sunday he was prepared to offer Iran economic incentives to stop its nuclear program, which Washington says is aimed at making bombs. But he warned that sanctions could be toughened if it refused.


US Stance
Obama says will pursue carrot-stick Iran policy / Reuters
US president-elect says prepared to offer Islamic Republic economic incentives to stop nuclear program, warns sanctions could be toughened if it refuses; adds threats against Israel 'contrary to everything we believe in'
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"When they stick to their past view regarding suspending uranium enrichment, our answer will be: Iran will never suspend uranium enrichment," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi told reporters.


Washington, which cut ties with Tehran after the 1979 revolution that ousted the US-backed shah, has been pushing hard to isolate Iran over its nuclear plans.


Iran, the world's fourth largest oil producer, insists it wants to master nuclear technology to generate electricity so it can save more of its oil and gas reserves for exports.


Enrichment is the part of Iran's program that most worries the West because, if uranium is enriched much more, it can make warhead material as well as being used to make fuel for power plants.


"If their (Washington's) new stance is to remove concerns about Iran's nuclear activities, we are ready for that. But our new expectation is ... that they should recognize our right to nuclear technology," Qashqavi said.


"The old policy was carrot and stick. This needs to change and transform into an interactive policy," he said.


Changed policy?

During a presidential debate with Republican rival John McCain in October, Obama said his administration would work to restrict gasoline imports to Iran, which cannot make enough refined fuel to meet all domestic needs and has to import some.


Speaking on Sunday, Obama told a US broadcaster, "We are willing to talk to them directly and give them a clear choice and ultimately let them make a determination in terms of whether they want to do this the hard way or the easy way."


Obama takes office on January 20.


"When they talk about change, everyone expects a changed policy to entail something very different to what President (George) Bush was following," Qashqavi said, adding everyone should "wait and see" what approach Obama would take in office.


Iran said last week it did not believe US policy would change under Obama. Its refusal to stop enrichment, has drawn three rounds of UN sanctions since 2006, as well as separate US measures.


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