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Iran Reportedly Rejects Powers' Nuclear Pressure In Letter


EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana
TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iran has delivered a letter to European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana which stresses, according to Iranian media, that foreign pressure on Tehran would not resolve the dispute over its nuclear program.

The letter was handed to Solana, who has represented six major powers in nuclear talks with Iran, by Iran's ambassador to the European Union, Solana's spokeswoman Cristina Gallach said.

Iranian reports said the letter from Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili was addressed to the foreign ministers of the six powers: the United States, Germany, France, Britain, China, and Russia.

"In the process of talks, pressure cannot resolve the issue," the ISNA news agency quoted Jalili as saying.

Gallach said she did not know the contents. "But the letter is now in the hands of Mr. Solana," she said.

Iran's Press TV said in a headline: "Iran rejects any pressure on its nuclear program."

The West fears Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil producer, is seeking to build nuclear arms.

Iran says it only wants to generate electricity and has repeatedly ruled out halting uranium enrichment, which can have both civilian and military purposes, but its refusal to do so has drawn three rounds of UN sanctions since 2006.

"The two-page letter reflects Iran's view over the handling of the nuclear case by the six powers. It will be handed over to Solana in Brussels in a few hours," Ahmad Khademolmelleh, a spokesman for Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said.

'Fully Cooperated'

He told Reuters it would also be delivered to the Swiss Embassy in Tehran. Switzerland represents U.S. interests in the country since Washington severed ties with Iran shortly after its 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran's Press TV quoted Jalili as saying Iran's approach was constructive. "Iran says it has fully cooperated with the IAEA and G5+1," it said in a headline, referring to the Vienna-based nuclear watchdog and the six powers.

Jalili and Solana, representing the six powers, last discussed Tehran's nuclear program by telephone in August.

The UN Security Council in September passed a resolution that again ordered Tehran to halt enrichment but imposed none of the new sanctions Washington and its allies want.

Iran has dismissed the latest resolution as "unconstructive" and again made clear it would not bow to the pressure.

"There is no reason for us to change our strategy, which is not to suspend enrichment," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi told a news conference.

The six powers offered in June to hold off from seeking further sanctions if Iran freezes expansion of its nuclear work. Iran responded with a noncommittal letter and Western countries said they would look at stepping up sanctions on Tehran.

But Russia and China, which gave reluctant backing to three previous sanctions resolutions that included asset freezes and travel bans on specific Iranian individuals and companies, are blocking further UN measures for the time being.