19:11 GMT +3 hours24 November 2014
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U.S. stance on Iran's nuclear program counterproductive - Tehran

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(updated 18:25 28.10.2014)
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U.S. threats of new sanctions against Iran will only harm the constructive dialogue between the West and Tehran on its nuclear program, Iran's permanent representative to the IAEA said Thursday.
TEHRAN, July 31 (RIA Novosti) - U.S. threats of new sanctions against Iran will only harm the constructive dialogue between the West and Tehran on its nuclear program, Iran's permanent representative to the IAEA said Thursday.

The U.S. State Department reiterated on Wednesday that Iran had until Saturday's deadline to respond to a package of incentives that require the country to suspend its uranium enrichment or it would face "diplomatic consequences."

"The statements made by U.S. officials that Iran must suspend its uranium enrichment program do not deserve any attention and only harm the constructive atmosphere, reached during the talks [in Geneva]," Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh told Iran's Press TV.

"We believe that rather than making these statements they should seek ways for continued constructive dialogue on a peaceful resolution of the problems," he said.

The July 19 talks in Geneva between Iranian security council chief Saeed Jalili and envoys from the group of six world powers - China, France, Russia, the United States, Germany and Britain - ended in a stalemate as Iran said it would not discuss a demand to halt its uranium enrichment, which the West suspects is geared towards weapons production.

On June 14 European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana handed Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki a package of new incentives to Iran. The proposals offer political, security and trade benefits to Iran in exchange for suspending its nuclear program.

Iran has not yet provided a clear response to the new incentives but reaffirmed its determination to continue uranium enrichment despite Western demands.

Iran is currently under three sets of relatively mild UN Security Council sanctions for defying demands to halt uranium enrichment, which it says it needs purely for electricity generation.

Despite Western accusations, Iran maintains it has never been involved in research into the development of nuclear weapons.