TEHRAN, Iran – Iran's Foreign Ministry on Sunday called a threat of international sanctions a "rusty" weapon and said the country would not abandon uranium enrichment.
On Friday, the six countries that have been at the center of efforts to persuade Iran to drop uranium enrichment, a key step toward making nuclear weapons, said they have agreed to discuss possible sanctions.
However, the six stopped short of demanding Iran be punished by the U.N. Security Council. The countries include all five permanent security council members — the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China — and Germany.
"Both officials and people in Iran have always viewed threats for sanctions as a rusty and derelict weapon," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said at a weekly news briefing. "They are accustomed to the threats."
However, Hosseini said "We do not welcome sanctions" and said they sanctions would damage both sides.
Although he reiterated Iran's determination to continue with uranium enrichment, Hosseini said "negotiation is the best way."
Hosseini said European-Iranian negotiations, which had been seen as a final attempt to avoid a full-blown confrontation between Tehran and the Security Council, would be resumed but did not give specifics.
In September, European Union envoy Javier Solana and Iranian envoy Ali Larijani ended two days of talks in Berlin with no agreement on the enrichment issue but insisted they had made progress on ways to open broader discussions.
Those talks came after Iran ignored an Aug. 31 deadline to suspend uranium enrichment or face punishment.