Iran says US pressure 'irrational'

The Iranian foreign minister has said US pressure on the UN Security Council to penalise Iran for its nuclear policy is "irrational" and will not succeed.

    The Iranian foreign minister held talks with Qatar's amir

    On a visit to Qatar, Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters: "I predict that the irrational American view will not prevail in  the security council."

    Mottaki said: "There are two views in the Security Council - the first is based on confrontation and is advocated by a few countries and the  second presses for a peaceful resolution.

    "The European members of the Security Council do not share the  same opinion, and some of the permanent and non-permanent members of  the council are saying that dialogue must be given a chance," he added without specifying any of the 15 council members.

    Expressing a contrary sentiment, Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state,  said on Wednesday she was confident Washington and  its allies would reach agreement on a resolution to pressure Iran to  give up its suspected nuclear weapons ambitions.

    Nuclear row

    The council is debating a response to Tehran's defiance to  demands that it halt uranium enrichment, which the Islamic republic insists is for peaceful purposes.
    But the council hit a stalemate on Tuesday postponing a  scheduled meeting to allow more time to narrow differences on a  Franco-British statement on the Iranian nuclear crisis, diplomats  said. No new date had been set.

    Western powers see adoption of the non-binding statement as the  first step in a graduated response that could ultimately lead to  sanctions against Tehran.

    But Russia and China, which have close economic and energy ties with Tehran, oppose sanctions and insist on the International Atomic  Energy Agency retaining the lead role in the issue.

    Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States are the  council's five veto-wielding permanent members.

    Commenting on the expected talks between Tehran and Washington  over Iraq, which were endorsed on Tuesday by Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Mottaki said violence in the war-shattered  country would ease with a US timetable to pull its troops out.

    "Iraq will be stable if the security file was handed over to the  Iraqi government and people and America set a timetable to pull out  its troops," he  said calling on Iraqis to form a new government "as soon as possible".



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