Talks on Iran’s controversial nuclear programme will fail if world powers use “pressure” during the negotiations, Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani said on Wednesday.
“They (world powers) should pay attention that if they want to continue pressure in the talks, it will achieve nothing,” Larijani was quoted as saying on the state television website.
His remarks came after world powers agreed on a renewed dialogue, which has been stalled for more than a year, with Tehran on its nuclear programme.
On Tuesday, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who represents the world powers — Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany in negotiations with Tehran — announced the agreement.
“We hope that Iran will now enter into a sustained process of constructive dialogue which will deliver real progress in resolving the international community’s long-standing concerns on its nuclear programme” Ashton said.
A time and venue to hold the talks now needed to be agreed, she added.
In a February 14 letter to Ashton, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said Tehran was ready to resume the deadlocked negotiations at the “earliest” opportunity as long as the world powers respected its right to peaceful atomic energy.
At the last talks between the two sides held in Istanbul in January 2011, Iran refused to address questions on its nuclear programme, laying down what diplomatic sources said were “pre-conditions” such as a lifting of sanctions.
The prospects of new talks come at a time of heightened tension between Iran and its regional arch-rival Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during his visit to Washington this week that his country cannot afford to wait “much longer” for sanctions to work on Iran.
He said he would “never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation”.
But US President Barack Obama said Iran’s readiness to return to talks was in the interest of all parties concerned.
“We’re now seeing noises about them returning to the negotiating table, that it is deeply in everybody’s interests, the United States, Israel’s and the world’s, to see if this can be resolved in a peaceful fashion,” Obama said.
Western powers and Israel suspect Iran is seeking to build a nuclear bomb under the guise of a civilian atomic programme, a charge consistently denied by Tehran which says its nuclear drive is aimed for peaceful purposes.