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Iran resumes nuclear talks, but decries nuclear scientist's assassination

Iranian media emphasized Iran's tough opening gambit in Geneva, where it condemned the West for its silence over an Iranian nuclear scientist's assassination last week.

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“We need intelligence-led operations to make it more difficult for countries like Iran to develop nuclear weapons,” Sir John had said at the time. “The risks of failure in this area are grim…. And the longer international efforts delay Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons technology, the more time we create for a political solution to be found.”

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Iran, US posturing

The talks come as secret US diplomatic cables published by whistleblower website WikiLeaks show widespread concern and even obsession that Iran’s peaceful nuclear program masks a drive for weapons, in capitals from Washington to Tel Aviv to Riyadh.

The atmosphere in Geneva appeared to start with scripted respect. Jalili arrived to the meeting ahead of his team, nodding toward Ashton in the foyer without extending his hand. Ashton kept her hands clasped behind her back during the greeting, clearly aware that official custom in the Islamic Republic is that unrelated me and women do not publicly shake hands.

Yet in the days prior to the Geneva talks, posturing turned into daily sport. Both sides portrayed the talks as a favorable gesture toward the other, and that they were in a position of strength.

RELATED: A stronger Iran returns to nuclear talks in Geneva

Following its announcement of producing yellowcake uranium, Iran would “go to the negotiations with strength and power,” said Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s atomic energy organization. “No matter how much effort they put into their sanctions and in creating all sorts of hindrance…our nuclear activities will proceed.”

The White House replied that the yellowcake claim “calls into further question Iran’s intentions and raises additional concerns.” Iran has yet to resolve all outstanding questions with the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency about alleged weapon design efforts.

Seeking to further boost Iran’s stature ahead of talks, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared there was ample proof that world powers were not as strong as they once appeared and that Iran was exposing the weakness of the West.

“Americans are worse than the most dictatorial powers,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said in a speech. “They assassinate nuclear scientists because they are not strong enough to counter the Iranian nation, and think a nation will step back with the assassination of its loved ones.”

Referring to the talks, the arch-conservative president called on US-led Western powers to “change” their behavior toward Iran, and to “put aside the devil’s temper” in negotiations.

Iran's foreign minister: 'Nuclear weapons only bring disaster'

Prior to the talks, British Defense Secretary Liam Fox said the preference was for a “negotiated solution, not a military one,” but added: “We will not look away or back down.”

And US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that it was Iran, not the West, which had to restore trust in the peaceful nature of its nuclear efforts, and in Geneva should “firmly, conclusively reject the pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

Iran’s foreign minister appeared to do just that on Monday, repeating Iran’s rejection of nuclear weapons and calling for the Middle East to be a nuclear-free zone. Speaking in Athens, Manouchehr Mottaki said: “Nuclear weapons do not solve any problem. They only bring disaster.”

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