Iran sends EU letter on conditions for nuke talks

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran said in a letter to the European Union that it’s ready for talks on the country’s nuclear program but that the EU must first guarantee there would be no threats against Tehran, state TV reported on Tuesday.

The TV said the letter was sent by Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, to EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, detailing Tehran’s conditions for the talks.

It followed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s announcement a week ago in which he said Tehran would not hold such talks until late August, to “punish” the West for the latest U.N. sanctions imposed on Iran. The EU and the U.S. have also imposed their own, additional and tougher sanctions against Iran to curtail its nuclear program.

In his speech, Ahmadinejad accused world powers of approving the latest sanctions to give them the upper hand in talks over the issue.

He also set three conditions for an eventual resumption of talks, saying countries who want to participate should make clear whether they oppose Israel’s purported atomic arsenal, whether they support the Nonproliferation Treaty and whether they want to be friends or enemies with Iran. However, he said, participation in the talks was not contingent on the answers.

Jalili’s letter reiterated those three points and stressed that the EU must make it clear whether the talks will be aimed at “interaction and cooperation, or hostility and confrontation.”

It was a reply to Ashton’s invitation to Jalili for talks in early June. The West accuses Iran of seeking to develop atomic weapons through its controversial nuclear enrichment program. Iran denies the charge, claiming the program is for peaceful electricity production only.

Jalili also said the EU must elaborate on its stand on Israel’s alleged nuclear arsenal.

Iran considers Israel as its archenemy and the Jewish state has not ruled out military option against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Israel, widely believed to have a sizable nuclear arsenal, refuses to confirm or deny the suspicions.