US sanctions have failed: top Ahmadinejad aideWashington (AFP) Nov 24, 2010 - 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.
Washington (AFP) Nov 23, 2010 The United States Tuesday criticized Iran for its "continued failure" to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, after a new report by the agency said Iran was still refusing to halt uranium enrichment. "We're obviously studying the report, but the key point is that it underscores Iran's continued failure to comply with its international nuclear obligations and also a sustained lack of cooperation with the IAEA," said State Department spokesman Mark Toner.
The IAEA's restricted report, a copy of which was obtained in Vienna by AFP, said Iran was still uncooperative after nearly eight years of attempting to determine if its nuclear program is military or, as Tehran insists, peaceful in its objectives.
The report demands full access to Iran's nuclear facilities, equipment and related documents, and said its uranium enrichment activities inexplicably came to a halt at least one day earlier this month, amid rumors it encountered technical problems.
The nine-page document has been circulated to IAEA member states and will be discussed by the agency's 35-member board of governors at the beginning of December.
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.
Iran and the six world powers involved in nuclear negotiations -- the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany -- have agreed to return to the negotiating table for the first time since the talks stalled in October 2009.
The negotiations will likely resume on December 5 in Geneva, the European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Monday.