mottaki iran fm 298.
(photo credit: AP)
Iran is ready to restart negotiations with the EU on its nuclear standoff, the foreign minister said Tuesday, but he ruled out direct talks with the United States.
"I announce that Iran is ready to respond positively to the call" made by the Nonaligned Movement "for resuming the negotiations on Iran's nuclear issue without any preconditions," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters. He is in Malaysia to attend a NAM foreign ministers' meeting that ended Tuesday.
"Accordingly, I would announce our readiness to restart immediately the negotiations with the EU Three to resolve the issues," he said, referring to France, Britain and Germany.
The announcement raised hopes that Iran would react positively to a planned package of incentives meant to convince it to abandon uranium enrichment. The package has been put together by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.
The package was to be presented to Teheran by France, Britain and Germany - the trio of nations that broke off talks with Iran in August 2005 after it resumed activities linked to uranium enrichment.
Mottaki also said Tuesday that the United States is incapable of attacking Iran.
In an interview with The Associated Press on the sidelines of a Nonaligned Movement ministerial meeting, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki also accused Washington of following "a double standard policy" over the issue, and engaging in "a unilateral approach that is not acceptable."
He said Iran was not afraid of a US military attack on his country. "They can't. The United States is not in a position to impose another crisis on taxpayers," he said.
"They are in a lot of difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are not in a position to create a new crisis in the region," he said.
Asked to comment on the Israeli foreign minister's call for imposing economic sanctions on Iran, Mottaki replied sarcastically: "What country is that? There is no such country."
Mottaki reiterated that for Iran to accept the package, the international community must fulfill two preconditions: recognition of its essential right to have nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, and the strengthening of the NPT.
"Under such circumstances we are in a position to cooperate. Otherwise if they ignore the right of Iran to have nuclear technology, how can we accept?"