Iran Threatens West Not To Threaten

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Iranian doublespeak continues with Iran warning the West not to "talk to Iran with the language of threat and sanction". The warnings come amid some signs that the six powers involved are approaching a decision to at least speak firmly to Iran, even if they don't actually do anything.

In a meeting late on Friday, representatives from the five permanent US Security Council members plus Germany agreed to discuss sanctions against Tehran after it failed to suspend sensitive uranium enrichment operations.

Senior US official Nicholas Burns said the so-called "5+1" group would start drafting this week a sanctions resolution, although he admitted finding a consensus on the extent of punitive measures would be difficult.

"I recommend to the 5+1 group not to talk to Iran with the language of threat and sanction," retorted Iran's conservative parliamentary speaker Gholam Ali Hadad-Adel Sunday.

He reaffirmed that Iran was ready to negotiate over its nuclear programme and said talks between the top Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana had been fruitful for both sides.

"Though both sides have expressed satisfaction, some comments made in 5+1 meeting smell of threats and sanctions."

"We are ready to continue negotiations since our comments are sensible and we do not want to violate international and International Atomic Energy Agency regulations."

"If with all our talks, they still talk about threats and sanctions, then it becomes evident that our nuclear issue is only a pretext for some powers like the United States to put pressure on our nation."

However the momentum towards imposing some kind of UN sanctions regime on Tehran appears strong after the London meeting, which included US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and top diplomats from the five other countries.

Frankly, I'll be surprised if the West actually imposes sanctions in any meaningful way at this point. Iran is already signaling that it doesn't care if they do anyway.

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