Middle East News
Iran's foreign minister: US rejected proposal to meet with Clinton
Sep 29, 2010, 8:00 GMT
Tehran - The United States rejected a proposal for a meeting of senior officials in New York, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told the official news agency IRNA Wednesday.
'Mr (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad said during his stay in New York that we are ready to meet the foreign ministers of the P5+1 group but the proposal was ignored,' Mottaki said.
The P5+1 consists of the five permanent UN Security Council members the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia plus Germany, who are engaged in nuclear talks with Iran.
'There are two options in the nuclear talks - either understanding or confrontation - and what [US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham] Clinton and the other foreign ministers have decided shows which option they prefer,' Mottaki said.
'She and the other foreign ministers have missed this golden opportunity,' he said.
Mottaki said that some of the ministers welcomed the proposal, believing that nuclear talks held at general-director level would not bring results as the delicate issue needed the presence of foreign ministers with sufficient political authority.
Ahmadinejad was in New York last week to attend the annual UN General Assembly.
The world powers want the nuclear talks to be led by European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, but Tehran prefers separate talks with Ashton and the P5+1.
Analysts said Iran sees the settlement of the nuclear dispute only in negotiations also attended by US representatives, preferably Clinton herself.
Both Ahmadinejad and the foreign ministry have stressed that any future nuclear talks with world powers must acknowledge Iran's rights to pursue civil nuclear programmes and to not make any concessions.
The UN Security Council, the US and some EU states have imposed economic sanctions against Iran for its refusal to stop uranium enrichment. They suspect it of secretly pursuing nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.