Iran rejects nuclear program talks

Iran Materials 8 October 2007 03:14

(Reuters) - Negotiations over Iran's nuclear enrichment activities would be meaningless because the country has a legal right to pursue the technology, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying on Sunday.

The West suspects Tehran is developing its nuclear programme to produce atomic weapons but Iran says it is only pursuing a means to produce electricity for civilian needs.

Tehran has defied U.N. resolutions calling on it to suspend uranium enrichment, and on Sunday Ahmadinejad rejected the idea of holding talks on the issue.

"It is meaningless to hold talks over Iran's obvious and legal right to nuclear technology," the news agency ISNA quoted him as saying.

The United States severed relations with Tehran's after its 1979 Islamic revolution which toppled the U.S.-backed Shah.

Washington also accuses Shi'ite Muslim Iran of providing funds, arms and training to Iraqi Shi'ite militants and of supporting terrorism. Iran denies the charge, blaming the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 for the bloodshed in Iraq.

On Wednesday, U.S. President George W. Bush said Washington had made it clear to Iran that negotiations were possible if it shut down the programme , although last month Bush's top diplomat Condoleezza Rice said she did not expect any talks soon.

Ahmadinejad said Iran was not seeking dialogue.

"We have never asked for holding talks with America. Talks can be held only if America changes its behaviour fundamentally," he said, according to the agency.