Iran not to back down on its rights under pressure

Tehran, Feb 10 (IANS) Iran will not back down on its fundamental rights in the face of international pressure, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday.

Ahmadinejad said talks with the US were unlikely to be held under threats and sanction pressures, Xinhua reported.

The US recently proposed direct talks with Iran over the country's nuclear issue.

Addressing a ceremony held to mark the 34th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, the president said that as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, it was "unlikely" to expect negotiations "when holding a gun over the Iranian nation's head".

Khamenei earlier said that Tehran was not interested in any talks with Washington under pressure.

The talks should be based on "justice and respect, not pressure", Ahmadinejad said.

"If you (Americans) do not point a gun at the Iranian nation, I myself will talk (with you)," he said.

"We also emphasise that dialogue is better than confrontation," he said.

Tehran "will not back down on its fundamental rights even a single iota" in the face of pressure, he said.

The US, Israel and some of their allies accuse Iran of using its nuclear energy programme to build nuclear weapons.

Iran rejects these allegations, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

A new round of talks between world powers and Iran is scheduled for Feb 26 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Ahmadinejad said the West has made all its efforts to "stop Iran from turning into a nuclear country" but "they failed".

Iran has turned into a nuclear state and will continue its pace to take advantage of "peaceful nuclear energy programme", he said.

Ahmadinejad played down Western sanctions on the country's energy sector and economy, saying: "If you don't want to buy Iran's oil, we do not sell it to you and will run the country with non-oil revenues."

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