Ahmadinejad: Iran Won't Make Nuclear Concessions in Istanbul Talks

Iranian leader says sanctions will only speed up the progress of his country's nuclear program.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that, just like in Geneva, his country will provide no concessions in next month's nuclear negotiations in Istanbul, the ISNA news agency reported.

"We are willing to cooperate with the world powers in Istanbul, but all of them should acknowledge Iran's right to pursue nuclear technology and know that we will not retreat on inch from these rights," Ahmadinejad said in a speech in the city Karaj, west of the capital Tehran.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Dec. 23, 2010 (Reuters)
Reuters / Umit Bektas

After the talks between the six world powers and Iran in Geneva earlier this month, the two sides agreed to continue the talks in Istanbul at the end of January.

"And if (the powers) come again with sanction threats, they should know that all the sanctions already issued and all the hundreds more to be issued will not in the least affect Iran's will, and just speed up our progress," Ahmadinejad said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday that Iran would discuss "ways to explore more cooperation" with the six world powers on global and economic issues, but not discuss the nuclear dispute.

The six world powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States - primarily demand that Iran suspend its controversial uranium enrichment, in line with five United Nations Security Council resolutions, four of them with sanctions, designed to make sure the Islamic state is not pursuing a secret military program.

While denying the existence of military nuclear programs, Tehran has referenced its right as a Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signatory and International Atomic Energy Agency member, saying, like any other country, it has the right to have civil nuclear projects, including uranium enrichment.