Ahmadinejad Says No 'Fruitful' Nuclear Talks Unless Sanctions Lifted


Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, demanded that worldwide sanctions against Iran be lifted if the West wants ""fruitful"" talks on ending its nuclear programme.

He spoke as Tehran secured a date for international negotiations on the stand-off early next year following a two-day meeting in Geneva.

Mr Ahmadinejad used a rally in central Iran to make clear that Tehran was not ready to halt production of atomic material without an easing of sanctions. ""If you come to the negotiations by cancelling all the nasty things and wrong decisions that you have adopted – lift resolutions, sanctions and some restrictions that you have created then the talks will definitely be fruitful,"" he said.

Diplomats said the preliminary talks in Geneva – the first in 14 months – had ended with agreement to discuss practical measures to resolve the dispute over Iran's enrichment of nuclear material.

Baroness Ashton of Upholland, the EU foreign affairs representative, led the talks involving Iran, the permanent five members of the UN – Britain, US, Russia, France and China – plus Germany.

""We have had nearly two days of detailed, substantive talks focusing on the Iranian nuclear programme and the need for Iran to comply with international obligations,"" she said. ""We plan to discuss practical ideas and ways of co-operating toward a resolution of our core concerns about the nuclear issue.""