Iran's foreign minister says the United States has difficulty accepting the peaceful nature of Tehran's nuclear program and that Washington is perpetuating "huge lies" in order to influence the international community against Iran. Manouchehr Mottaki told an audience in New York that Tehran will not be "pushed into an unending road" of nuclear negotiations directed by the United States. From New York, VOA Correspondent Margaret Besheer has more.
Manouchehr Mottaki welcomed U.S. participation in the recent round of nuclear talks in Geneva with the Europeans and said there is potential for such negotiations to continue, if there is sufficient political will. But he questioned whether the United States is truly concerned with Iran's nuclear intentions or whether it is using the issue to further a different agenda.
"In all truthfulness, they are not at all concerned with Iran's peaceful nuclear activities, they have other concerns, they have other designs, they are pursuing other goals," he said.
He said that since Iran's Islamic Revolution nearly 30 years ago, the United States has been hostile to his government. Mottaki suggested the United States has been trying to overthrow the Tehran government, saying it has had many plots and plans for Iran that have failed - charges the United States denies.
Mottaki told an audience at the Asia Society that it is difficult for Washington to accept the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program, and that Tehran would not be pushed down a road of unending negotiations directed by Washington.
"Because once it [i.e., the United States] accepts it, it can no longer oppose. So they continue with a huge lie, perpetuating this huge lie," he said. "They are saying Iran wants to have the bomb because once there is talk of a bomb, then you can distort the international environment."
Mottaki said Iran has answered all of questions put to it by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and that it has not been found to have diverted its nuclear technology to weapons production.
But a report from the IAEA released last month accused Tehran of blocking a U.N. investigation into its suspected nuclear work. The European Union has also expressed its concern that Iran is getting closer to having the nuclear materials needed to make a bomb, and said the IAEA report painted a "decidedly bleak picture".
The Iranian foreign minister indicated that there could be opportunities for new dialogue when a new U.S. president takes office in January. He said whoever wins the November election would have to bring about "new developments" in U.S. foreign policy and reach out to other countries, including those in the Middle East. Mottaki said Tehran would "wait and see" what new U.S. policies would look like.
The United States and its allies accuse Iran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons - a charge Iran denies.