TEHRAN, Iran – Iran's top nuclear negotiator said Thursday his country is seeking "cooperation" from world powers in next week's nuclear talks in Baghdad and warned against pressure by the West.
Saeed Jalili said the talks in the Iraqi capital have to recognize Iran's rights to a nuclear program, insisting Tehran will not yield to any "pressure strategy."
"Cooperation is what we can talk about in Baghdad," Jalili, Iran's nuclear negotiator with the West, said in comments broadcast on state television. "Talks based on the definite rights of the Iranian nation."
"Some say time is running out for the talks," he added. "I say time for the (West's) pressure strategy is running out."
The West suspects Iran is pursuing nuclear arms, and is trying to get Iran to halt its controversial nuclear enrichment, which is a potential pathway to atomic weapons.
Tehran denies the charge and insists its program is for peaceful purposes, such as energy generation and cancer treatment.
After talks in Istanbul last month, which both sides praised as positive, Iran and the permanent members of the U.N Security Council plus Germany are to hold the second round May 23 in Baghdad.
A few days after that, the U.N. atomic agency is to release its latest report card on Iran's nuclear efforts.
Jalili said he recently heard "some remarks from Western leaders" about keeping pressure on Iran and urged them not to repeat past mistakes in dealings with Tehran.
"I warn them to be careful and not to fall prey to such miscalculations," he added.
His remark is likely a response to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's comment earlier this month on the success of the sanctions.
"We don't believe Iran would be back at the negotiating table unless there had been the unrelenting pressure of international sanctions. And this pressure must stay on if we want to see progress toward a peaceful resolution," Clinton had said.
Four rounds of U.N. sanctions have failed to get Iran to halt the enrichment program but latest U.S. and European punitive measures, including an oil embargo and financial and banking sanctions, have severely limited Iran's ability to carry on economic transactions with the international community.