Iran Doubles Down on Refusal to Join U.S. Meeting

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, shown this week, on Thursday reaffirmed his government's current disinterest in direct talks with the United States (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra).
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, shown this week, on Thursday reaffirmed his government's current disinterest in direct talks with the United States (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra).

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday reaffirmed his nation's dismissal of a U.S. proposal to convene bilateral discussions, the Associated Press reported.

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei earlier on Thursday brushed off U.S. President Joseph Biden's recent offer of talks with Iran in a bid to defuse an entrenched standoff over the Middle Eastern country's nuclear activities. Washington and its allies suspect Iran's efforts are geared toward development of a nuclear-weapon capability; Tehran insists its atomic ambitions are purely peaceful in nature.

Ahmadinejad said "talks are held to arrive at an understanding, not to impose anything." He added "such talks will be meaningless if someone raises a club and imposes" anything on Iran.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry said meeting with Washington is not presently among Tehran's priorities, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

"According to the guidelines of the supreme leader, negotiations with the United states is not in agenda and is not possible before they change their attitude and ask for apology for their ... hostility toward the country," spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in a Friday report by the Islamic Republic News Agency.

Mehmanparast said financial penalties adopted this week by the United States "are designed to put pressure on the nation and to create a gap between the (Iranian) nation and government," Reuters reported.

"In the remaining time to the (presidential) election [in June], they want to create tension, crisis and instability in the country by imposing great pressure," Iran's Fars News Agency quoted him as saying.

Iran's top envoy to Bulgaria on Friday said his nation "has nothing to do" with a 2012 bomb strike that killed five Israeli visitors in Bulgaria, Reuters reported separately.

"We are against any form of terrorism and strongly condemn such actions," Ambassador Gholamreza Bageri stated. Bulgaria linked Iran-allied Hezbollah to the attack, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed both the militant organization and Iran.

February 8, 2013
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday reaffirmed his nation's dismissal of a U.S. proposal to convene bilateral discussions, the Associated Press reported.

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