'Iran will refuse US offer of talks'
The offer came on the eve of a meeting in Vienna of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.india Updated: Jun 01, 2006 11:00 IST
Iran will not accept a US offer to suspend uranium enrichment in return for Washington joining negotiations on the nuclear dossier, Iranian lawmaker Kazem Jalali was quoted as saying by Isna news agency.
Jalali, the spokesman for the Iranian parliament's foreign affairs committee, said the conditional offer to resume talks announced by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday was "positive" in principle but clashed with Tehran's staunch refusal to halt uranium enrichment.
Several high-ranking officials in Tehran said that the government would respond to the offer on Thursday.
Jalali said Rice's announcement was "in principle positive... But the Americans' precondition is not appropriate because the Islamic republic has said on several occasions that the suspension of enrichment is not up for discussion."
Rice said Washington was ready to join direct negotiations led by European states Britain, France and Germany on Iran's nuclear programme if Tehran suspends all uranium enrichment activities.
"To underscore our commitment to a diplomatic solution and to enhance the prospects for success, as soon as Iran fully and verifiably suspends its enrichment and reprocessing activities, the United States will come to the table with our EU-3 colleagues and meet with Iran's representatives," she said.
The US offer came on the eve of a meeting in Vienna of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany.