Iran rejects offer of third-party mediation over nuclear dispute | World| Breaking news and perspectives from around the globe | DW | 08.12.2009
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Iran rejects offer of third-party mediation over nuclear dispute

Iran has rejected a US suggestion that Turkey don the hat of mediator in an effort to resolve the ongoing international dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sees no need for a nuclear go-between

A spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry responded to the proposals by saying the Iranian stance on the nuclear issue was quite clear and that there was, therefore, no need for a third party to step in and mediate.

"We have clearly expressed our view on the nuclear issue," Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters in Tehran. "We don't think our transparent view needs to be interpreted by other countries."

His comments came one day after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met US President Barack Obama at the White House. Obama said he thought Ankara could be an "important player" in persuading Tehran to give up its nuclear ambitions.

Erdogan said his country was willing to mediate between Iran and the West, but that is clearly not what Tehran wants.

"Many countries have an interest in mediating, including Turkey, but Iran's need for civil nuclear technology is clear and its stance irrevocable," the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman added.

West threatens sanctions

Erdogan and Ahmadinejad

Erdogan (right) has expressed his willingness to step into the fray

The West accuses Iran of non-civilian nuclear ambitions, a claim Tehran has systematically denied. It insists its nuclear program is peaceful and serves only to generate electricity.

But President Obama and his European allies have warned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that he has to respond to a United Nations-drafted nuclear fuel deal by the end of the year or be penalized.

On Sunday, French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Pierre Lellouche, told the French Jewish radio station Radio J that the time had come to "seek firmer sanctions against Iran" over its controversial atomic program.

He criticized the Iranian leadership for failing to accept the UN deal under which Tehran would export the majority of its low-enriched uranium to Russia and France to be converted into nuclear fuel.

But Iran has refused to sign up to the plan citing a lack of trust in "some Western countries" as the reason.

tkw/APF/Reuters/dpa

Editor: Susan Houlton

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