- he Iranian ambassador to the UN says Tehran avoids confrontational policies despite the imposition of Western sanctions, but will not hesitate to give a "firm and appropriate" response to any threats and provocations against the country.
"During the Iran-Iraq war we did not lose even one centimeter of land...Iran preserved its national and sovereign right...If Iranians believe something is threatening their sovereignty and national rights, they will resist," said Mohammad Khazaei in an interview with Al-Monitor.
The United States and Israel have repeatedly threatened Tehran with the "option" of a military strike based on the allegation that Iran's nuclear energy program may include a covert military aspect.
Iran has categorically refuted the US-led allegations regarding its nuclear energy program, saying that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
- In response to a question about the six major world powers' (P5+1) request for Iran to take 'the first step' toward resolving the nuclear energy issue, Khazaei stated that the fatwa 9religious decree) issued by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei forbidding the production, proliferation and use of nuclear bombs would be an "appropriate base for reciprocal steps by the P5+1."
"This fatwa which is very important can be interpreted as the Islamic Republic of Iran's step and we expect the other side to take its own step and officially recognize the right of Iran for peaceful nuclear energy program," he pointed out.
The Iranian envoy said the mistrust between Iran and the P5+1 is a main problem in talks on the nuclear energy issue.
"We have to find a way to overcome this mistrust. As long as mistrust and lack of confidence exists, whatever we negotiate will not work," he added.
The ambassador stated that the issues of 20% enrichment and providing fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor can be further discussed by both sides.
- "The issue of the 20% enrichment is the first proposal of the 5+1 and the third proposal of Iran. So [this] is an issue that could be discussed and decided. It is not off the table," Khazaei said.
He dismissed the possibility of making any progress on the nuclear talks before US presidential elections, saying, "Because of the election, the US government may not have enough room to maneuver....But I can tell you that we do not base our negotiation with the 5+1 based on the election in the United States or in any other country."
The last expert-level meeting between Iran and the P5+1 - Russia, China, Britain, France, the US and Germany -- representatives was held in Istanbul on July 3.
Iran and the P5+1 agreed to hold the expert-level talks during their negotiations in the Russian capital, Moscow, in June.
The Moscow meeting came after three sessions of plenary talks in Baghdad in May and an earlier round of negotiations in Istanbul in mid-April.
The two sides had, prior to the Istanbul talks, held two rounds of negotiations, one in Geneva, Switzerland, in December 2010, and another again in Istanbul in January 2011.