Iran seeks 'win-win' in nuclear talks
TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran wants a "win-win" outcome in its talks with world powers over its disputed nuclear program, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said yesterday, warning that the only other choice is confrontation.
Three rounds of nuclear negotiations between Iran and six world powers have failed to produce a breakthrough. A low-level meeting of technical experts is scheduled today in Istanbul to see whether there is enough common ground to return to full-fledged talks.
"We want to see a win-win outcome," Akbar Salehi told the semiofficial ISNA news agency on the eve of the discussions in Turkey. "In the talks, the other side has no choice but to find an agreement, otherwise confrontation will be the alternative. I don't think that common sense is looking for a confrontation."
Said Salehi: "We are looking for a deal and not a confrontation, but if they [world powers] want to react unwisely, they should know that Iran will firmly defend its rights as it did during the Iran-Iraq war" in the 1980s, he said.
The United States and the European Union have imposed several rounds of sanctions to pressure Iran to give up its uranium enrichment program. An EU ban on the purchase of Iranian oil took effect Sunday, days after new U.S. sanctions prohibited the world's banks from completing oil transactions with Iranian banks.
Iran acknowledged that the measures were taking a toll, saying it has stockpiled goods and hard currency to help cushion the economy.
The Islamic Republic initially responded to the sanctions by threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic waterway through which about one-fifth of the world's oil is shipped. Officials appeared Sunday to back off from that threat, which roiled international oil markets at the time. -- AP