Ramin Mehmanparast

Iran’s Foreign Ministry reacted on Tuesday to statements from the U.S. Secretary of State regarding the continuation of sanctions against Iran, saying: “Pressure-negotiations are the wrong approach, which will not yield results, as it has not so far.”

Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State, remarked after the meeting between Iran and world powers in Baghdad that “significant differences” remain over Iran’s nuclear program.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said at the press conference following the Baghdad talks that “some common ground” had been found, which explained the planned continuation of talks in Moscow on June 18 and 19.

Clinton said of the upcoming talks in Moscow: “As we lay the groundwork for these talks, we will keep up the pressure as part of our dual-track approach. All of our sanctions will remain in place and will continue to move forward during this period. Iran now has a choice to make: will it meet its international obligations and give the world confidence in its intentions or not?”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said today: “As Mr. Jalili [Iran’s top nuclear negotiator] said at the press conference, pressure-negotiations are the wrong approach, which will not yield results, as it has not so far. It is better that they do not enter the negotiations with mistaken illusions.”

He continued: “We have always used pressure as an opportunity. If they make a mistake again, they will just delay reaching a desired end.” Mehmanparast added: “They approach the issue with mistaken illusions and incorrect assumptions, and that is why they do not reach a resolution.”

The Foreign Ministry spokesman added: “Dropping their illogical pre-conditions will be considered a positive step.”

By “pre-conditions”, he appears to refer to demands for the suspension of uranium enrichment in Iran.

The United Nations’ resolutions against Iran have called on the country to end its uranium-enrichment activities. Iran insists that it has a right to uranium enrichment under the NPT provisions because it’s aimed at peaceful purposes.

The world powers are concerned, however, that high-level enrichment could finally give Iran the capability to build nuclear weapons.

The EU has imposed sanctions on Iranian oil exports that will take effect on July 1. New U.S. sanctions that will penalize companies and countries that do business with Iran are set to begin on June 28.

The Mehr News Agency reports that Ali Akbar Velayati, a top aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader, said on Tuesday, on the sidelines of a meeting about the nuclear talks in Baghdad and Moscow, that the G5+1 should talk amongst themselves ahead of the talks in Moscow.

He added that, in Baghdad, it appeared the world powers were willing to negotiate, but they did not have a “clear and concrete” proposal.

“Before beginning talks with Iran, they should spend some time amongst themselves,” Velayati said. “We hope that the G5+1 have some coordination before they come to the talks to formulate some kind of coherent and clear purpose amongst themselves.”