TEHRAN – Iran will not negotiate about its nuclear rights, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday, after the United States said it would focus on the Islamic state's atomic activities in upcoming talks with Tehran.
Iran last week handed over a five-page proposal to the major powers, including the United States, in which Tehran said it was willing to discuss global nuclear disarmament as well as other international issues in wide-ranging talks.
But the document did not mention Iran's own nuclear program, which the West suspects is aimed at making bombs, and officials have made clear the issue will not be part of any discussions with the major powers.
From the Iranian nation's viewpoint, (Iran's) nuclear case is closed, official media quoted Ahmadinejad as telling Britain's new ambassador to Tehran.
Possessing peaceful nuclear technology is the Iranian nation's legal and definitive right and it will not hold discussions about its undeniable rights, he said.
But he added Iran was ready to talk about international cooperation to resolve global economic and security issues.
Iran has repeatedly said its nuclear program is for civil energy uses, not weapons.
The United States has said it would accept Iran's offer of wide-ranging talks despite Tehran's stated refusal to discuss its nuclear program, making clear it intended to raise the issue anyway.
This may not have been a topic that they wanted to be brought up but I can assure that it's a topic that we'll bring up, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Saturday.
Six major powers -- the permanent U.N. Security Council members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, as well as Germany -- offered Iran trade and diplomatic incentives in 2006 in exchange for a halt to uranium enrichment.
They improved the offer last year but retained the demand that Iran suspend uranium enrichment, something Tehran has ruled out as a precondition.
Ahmadinejad also told British Ambassador Simon Gass when he presented his credentials, that Iran had many negative memories about its ties with Britain, state broadcaster IRIB said.
Of course our look is toward the future and expansion of ties and we hope that the British government has learnt from its past and is moving toward correcting its past actions, said the president, who often rails against the West.
(Writing by Fredrik Dahl; editing by Matthew Jones)