TEHRAN (Hurriyet)–Iran rejected a Turkish role in its nuclear impasse with Western countries on Tuesday and said there would be no need for third-party mediation in the nuclear dispute.
The Persian Gulf country also said it had no faith in world powers, calling on them to earn Tehran’s trust before the Islamic Republic will agree to a U.N.-brokered nuclear fuel deal.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast implicitly rejected Turkey’s desire to mediate between it and world powers, a possibility raised by U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday during talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“The Iranian stance in the nuclear dispute is quite clear and there is no need for a third party to mediate,” Mehmanparast told reporters at a news conference in Tehran.
The Turkish option, which International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei proposed on Nov. 6, was discussed by top Turkish and Iranian leaders during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s November visit to Istanbul. ElBaradei offered Turkey as a third party to send Iran’s enriched uranium – an alternative to a plan for Russia to do the work.
During his visit to the United States, Erdogan criticized the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s censure of Iran as a “very rushed” move and insisted Tehran’s nuclear program should be dealt with diplomatically.
In Tehran, Mehmanparast also shrugged off threats of sanctions from some Western powers, saying this would only help Tehran gain further self-sufficiency in its nuclear program. “We never said we will not do [the nuclear fuel deal],” Mehmanparast told reporters when asked whether Iran was still considering entering the deal brokered by the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA.
World powers had backed the IAEA proposal under which Iran would send most of its low-enriched uranium to Russia and France for conversion into nuclear fuel for a research reactor in the capital.
But Tehran also rejected the proposal last month, insisting it wanted to hand over its low-enriched uranium at the same time it receives the 20 percent enriched uranium, and that the handover must take place simultaneously inside Iran.
“The question is the attitude of some Western countries in the past,” Mehmanparast said, adding that Iran had lost trust in these countries that did not keep their promises. “We cannot listen to them easily. If they can provide conditions that can gain our trust, we are ready to exchange the fuel.”
Western powers suspect Tehran is pursuing nuclear technology to make atomic weapons. Iran denies the charge, saying its ambitions are to gain peaceful nuclear power. Mehmanparast said solving the controversy over Tehran’s nuclear drive did not need additional parties.
“A number of countries are interested in playing a role in the problem created by the big nations for the independent ones. And Turkey wants to play a role in solving the nuclear issue between the countries who have the technology and the countries who are seeking it,” he said.
“But we don’t think that our views are non-transparent and they needed to be interpreted by others. All our nuclear work is under the supervision of the agency and we have informed it of our future plans,” Mehmanparast said.
“It is also aware of the approach of our parliament. We have revealed our plans very transparently to it,” he said in reference to the Iranian parliament’s call on the government to reduce ties with the IAEA after it censured Tehran for building a new uranium enrichment plant.
Mehmanparast also dismissed Western threats to impose a fourth set of U.N. sanctions on Tehran if it does not come clean on its nuclear program. “This is the continuation of the same incorrect approach of the past. Such threats and deadlines do not work. Sanctions are nothing new for Iran,” he said.
“At every stage of sanctions, we have reached a higher level of self-sufficiency and gained further independence. If there is another round of sanctions we will be more serious [in pursuing nuclear technology],” he said.