May 23, 2012 / 9:04 AM / 7 years ago

Iran says Western pressure at talks will be futile

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Wednesday that any efforts by Western powers to put pressure on Iran at talks in Baghdad over its nuclear programme would be futile.

His comments come just hours before world powers and Iran sit down for talks in the Iraqi capital to try to reach agreement over Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme.

Salehi told a news conference in Tehran: “Their (Western powers’) policies of pressure and intimidation are futile. They have to adopt policies to show goodwill to solve this issue.

“The ideas fielded to us speak of the fact that the other side would like to make Baghdad a success. We hope that in a day or two we can bring good news.”

The United States and its allies suspect Tehran is trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability and have imposed tough sanctions on Iran’s energy and financial sectors to try to force it to compromise and open up its activities to scrutiny.

Iran has long stated that its activities are purely peaceful however, and has said it wants Wednesday’s meeting to address the issue of sanctions with a view to rolling some of them back.

Salehi on Wednesday criticized the U.S. Congress for seeking to impose further sanctions on Iran: “The U.S. Congress doesn’t relay a good message and it might speak of the fact that America is not ready to show goodwill,” he said.

“In my opinion this is a strategic mistake. I hope sooner rather than later they reach a far sighted understanding before problems are created.”

European Union members states are set to introduce a total embargo of Iranian crude oil purchases in July. Diplomats say that potentially persuasive measure will not be cancelled unless Tehran takes substantial and demonstrative steps to curb its nuclear activities.

Reporting by Marcus George; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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