Iran Official Says New EU Sanctions Won't Force Tehran Into Nuclear Talks

Iranian Foreign Ministry official says 'inhumane' measures will only make Iran more determined in its stance.

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Tough new European Union sanctions on Iran will not force Tehran back into negotiations with world powers over its nuclear program, Iran's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

"We think the error in calculation which these countries are pursuing will distance them from a favorable result," ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a news conference.

"We recommend that, instead of taking the wrong approach and being stubborn and using pressure, ... with a logical approach they can return to discussions."

The European Union agreed to further sanctions against Iran's banking, shipping, and industrial sectors on Monday in the hope of drawing it into serious negotiations on its nuclear program.

The EU decision reflected mounting concerns over Iran's nuclear program, which the West suspects is aimed at giving Iran the potential to build a nuclear bomb, and over Israeli threats to attack Iranian atomic installations if sanctions and diplomacy fail to lead to a peaceful solution.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Monday that she hoped turning up the heat on the Islamic Republic would persuade it to make concessions and that negotiations could resume "very soon."

But Mehmanparast rejected that possibility, saying "illogical" and "inhumane" sanctions would only make Iran more determined in its stance. Iran insists it has the right to enrich uranium for power generation or medical purposes, and says its program has no military purpose.

"They don't know the spirit of the Iranian nation," Mehmanparast said. "These steps are mistakes and will have no results for them."

On Monday, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, addressing an annual United Jewish Israel Appeal gathering in London, said he urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to launch a military attack on Iran over its contested nuclear program, adding that sanctions should be given time to work.

"I have said to Prime Minister Netanyahu that now is not the time for Israel to resort to military action," the British premier said at the meeting, adding that beyond "the unpredictable dangers inherent in any conflict" the other reason for avoiding military action was the burden which harsh economic sanctions had already placed on Tehran.

"At the very moment when the regime faces unprecedented pressure and the people are on the streets, and when Iran’s only real ally in Syria is losing his grip on power, a foreign military strike is exactly the chance the regime would look for to unite its people against a foreign enemy," the U.K. PM said, adding: “We shouldn’t give them that chance. We need the courage to give these sanctions time to work."

Heavy-water production plant in the central Iranian town of Arak, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2006.Credit: AP



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