Iranian President Mohammad Khatami (file photo)
10 February 2005 -- A senior European Union official has warned Iran it must be serious in negotiations aimed at ensuring its nuclear program is peaceful. Jean Asselborn, foreign minister of current EU president Luxembourg, said today the Iranians must realize "they must not play with us."
Speaking in Geneva, on the margins of fresh EU-Iranian talks, he said Europe is firmly opposed to Iran having a nuclear bomb.
His comments came a day after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged the Europeans to take a harder line with Tehran. The United States accuses Iran of secretly trying to make nuclear weapons -- which Iran denies.
Hossein Mousavian of Iran's Supreme National Security Council said the chance of striking an agreement with the Europeans is "not small" because Iran is "quite flexible."
His conciliatory tone is in contrast to more hard-line Iranian comments, however. Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said today that anyone attempting military intervention in Iran would be met with a "burning hell."
"The nation of Iran does not want war, it does not want violence and clashes," Khatami said. "But the world should know that the Iranian nation will not tolerate any aggression."
Khatami was speaking as demonstrations were held around Iran to mark the 26th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution that brought religious rule to the country.