Wednesday, November 24, 2010   Zilhajj 17, 1431 A.H.    ISSN 1563-9479
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US sanctions have failed: top Ahmadinejad aide
Updated at: 1420 PST,  Wednesday, November 24, 2010
 WASHINGTON: Despite Western nations tightening the screws on Iran, a top aide to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said increasingly tough sanctions had failed, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

On the eve of fresh negotiations with Western powers tentatively set for December 5, Ahmadinejad confidant Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi said it was time for them to "stop fooling themselves" over the effectiveness of measures designed to pressure Iran into abandoning its uranium enrichment program.

Banning Iranians ships from European ports, a fuel blockade against Iran Air, growing financial restrictions and other punitive measures have had "no noticeable effect," he added in an interview with the Post.

"The delay in the negotiations has been a good opportunity for the other side to realize the effects of its political decisions."

He also claimed the failure of sanctions had prompted the West to relaunch the long-stalled talks, a direct contradiction of the US position.

Iran is under four sets of UN Security Council sanctions over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, which is at the center of fears about Tehran's atomic ambitions. It has also faced military threats and alleged technological attacks on its controversial nuclear program.

Tehran and the so-called P5+1 that groups the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany have agreed to return to the negotiating table for the first time since October 2009 for a meeting tentatively scheduled to take place next month in Geneva.

If Western powers do not respond to Iran's request to broaden discussions beyond its nuclear program to also discuss Israel's alleged nuclear weapons stockpile and declare they are committed to nuclear disarmament, Iran would be forced to take a harder position, Samareh Hashemi said.

It would mean "they have not chosen the path of friendship," he added.

"Not answering these questions will mean they have decided not to commit to nuclear disarmament and support the Zionist regime being armed with nuclear weapons."

But the 52-year-old foreign policy expert also said Iranian negotiators will consider proposed changes to a nuclear fuel swap proposal that failed at the talks last year.

 
 
 
 
 
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