Tehran: New sanctions imposed on Iran by Western nations make the prospect of international talks on its nuclear programme "more difficult”, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in an interview with an Iranian state-run television network.
"They keep making it more difficult for them to negotiate with us," he said yesterday on the Jam e Jam channel, which is broadcast via satellite to the Iranian Diaspora.
"You impose resolutions, sanctions, you use all tools against us, and you want to come and negotiate?" Ahmadinejad asked in a rhetorical jab at the United States and its allies.
The United States, Britain and Canada on Monday announced they were imposing fresh unilateral sanctions on Iran`s financial sector. France is also pushing its European Union partners to cut Iranian oil imports.
Ahmadinejad said those positions undercut a push by the so-called P5+1 -- comprising the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia, plus non-member Germany -- to restart stalled talks with Iran.
"They always create limitations for themselves. We have always said we are ready for talks and cooperation. Talks are better than confrontation, but they seem to be clueless and keep going back to confrontation," he said.
Iranian officials have said through several rounds of UN sanctions and additional Western sanctions over the past two years that the measures made the chances of resuming negotiations more remote, although they never shut the door on them.
Ahmadinejad likewise did not exclude talks restarting, but he voiced scepticism. "Well, we`ll negotiate but what do (5+1 countries) have left to tell us?" he asked.
The EU`s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, who represents the P5+1, last week urged Iran to resume the talks, which are aimed at removing Western fears that Tehran`s nuclear programme is being used to create atomic weapons.
Iran, which has denied any military dimension to its nuclear activities, has said it is ready to return to negotiations, but insists that they include other topics outside the nuclear issue.