Iran has again rejected freezing uranium enrichment as a precondition for talks, saying negotiations without any stipulations were the only way to ease the standoff over its nuclear program.
"Iran considers the suspension of uranium enrichment to be neither a precondition for talks nor a result of the talks," Javad Vaeidi, deputy head of Iran's National Security Council and the country's deputy nuclear negotiator, said in a translated copy of a speech he delivered in Vienna on Thursday.
"Negotiation without preconditions is the only way to a peaceful settlement of the crisis, which Iran and the EU are both concerned about," the translation of the speech read.
Vaeidi, who said he was speaking not as an official but as a political researcher, made his comments at an event affiliated with Austria's right-wing Freedom Party. A German copy of the speech was made available to participants afterward.
Vaeidi, who addressed a packed room through a translator, said during the question and answer period that negotiations were not a place for "take it or leave it confrontations."
Achieving nuclear technology for Iran for peaceful purposes was "based on a realistic need," Vaeidi said, adding later that "we're not as stupid so as to go after a nuclear bomb."
He also said Iran was asking for more time to look over a proposal of incentives to roll back its nuclear program in order to maximize its chances of success.
"It's a very important matter, we are undertaking serious considerations. ... We are maximizing chances for possibility of success of this proposal," he said.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday his country would take until mid-August to respond, which would be more than two months after the presentation of the package of incentives aimed at getting Iran to resume deadlocked negotiations over its nuclear ambitions.
Vaeidi said there were some positive points in the proposal and others that were unclear.
Vaeidi said the Iranian government would continue to work together with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Europeans and called for a guarantee that Iran's rights to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes would be safeguarded.
"Words are not enough, we need to see action," Vaeidi said.
The international offer seeks to persuade Teheran to suspend uranium enrichment in return for incentives including an offer by the United States to provide Iran with peaceful nuclear technology, lift some sanctions and join direct negotiations with Tehran.
Iran insists that its intentions are purely peaceful. The US and its allies suspect its enrichment activities, which can produce fissile material for a warhead or fuel for a nuclear reactor, are cover for a weapons program.