US proposes talks while pointing gun: Iranian leader

Tehran, Feb 7 (IANS) Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Thursday rejected an offer of talks with the US on Tehran's nuclear programme, saying America was proposing talks while "pointing a gun at Iran".

Last week, US Vice President Joe Biden suggested direct talks with Tehran. But the US widened sanctions on Iran Wednesday, aiming to tighten a squeeze on Tehran's ability to spend oil cash, BBC reported.

The supreme leader said negotiations with the US "would solve nothing".

"You are pointing a gun at Iran, saying you want to talk. The Iranian nation will not be frightened by the threats," BBC quoted him as saying.

Iran, subject to an array of international sanctions, has long argued that its nuclear programme was for energy generation and research. Western countries believe Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany have held a series of negotiations with Iran over the years.

Iran is expected to attend another round of negotiations Feb 26 in Kazakhstan.

Khamenei said in Tehran Thursday that the US' failure in the Middle East prompted Washington to make the offer of negotiating with Iran, Xinhua cited Press TV as saying.

He said such negotiation offers are not something new, and that US officials repeated the same words in the past.

The leader said four years ago, US officials offered talks and Iranians waited for their approach in practice.

However, "during the past four years, nothing was noticed from them (Americans) but continuation of their plots (against Iran) and their support for the terrorists who assassinated Iran's (nuclear) scientists," Khamenei was quoted by Fars news agency as saying.

"You impose, as you call it, paralysing sanctions to paralyse the Iranian nation. Is this a gesture of good-will or ill-will," he said.

The Iranian leader said "talks for talks' sake" or for "tactical" purposes was a "deceiving" move.

"I am not a diplomat (but) a revolutionary. Therefore, I am talking openly, honestly and determinedly. The offer for the talks is meaningful when the (talking) side displays its good will," Khamenei said.

He said US officials should know that "pressure and talks cannot go together and the Iranian nation will not be intimidated by such approaches".


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