Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani

Moderate cleric Ayatollah Rafsanjani says the last round of nuclear talks showed that world powers are not prepared to negotiate with Iran and are merely exercising “bullying” tactics.

Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, who heads Iran’s Expediency Council, said today: “The negotiations prove that the West is not prepared to negotiate and is dishonest, and the only basis for its actions is bullying in order to create an opportunity for its future goals.”

At a meeting with a group of clerics in Qom, Rafsanjani added: “They want to keep their bullying file open in order to pursue their arrogant policies.”

Ayatollah Rafsanjani represents the more moderate section of the Islamic Republic establishment that has always been open to compromise with the West, and the Associated Press says his statements betray a widespread frustration with the lack of headway at the talks.

Two days of tense negotiations in Moscow this week led to little progress aside from an agreement to continue talks next month in Turkey.

Iran wants the world powers to recognize its right to enrich uranium, insisting that its only goal is to provide fuel for its nuclear power generators.

The West is reportedly calling for a suspension of Iran’s uranium-enrichment program and has refused all requests to drop sanctions on Iran until that country takes concrete steps towards meeting Western demands.