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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 January 2008, 21:14 GMT
Iran's FM questions UN resolution
By Bridget Kendall
BBC Diplomatic correspondent

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki at Davos, 26 January 2008
Manouchehr Mottaki was speaking to the BBC at Davos
Manouchehr Mottaki has urged major world powers to exercise restraint over a new UN resolution aimed at tightening sanctions against Iran.

The Iranian foreign minister said the timing of the request that the UN Security Council consider a new draft resolution was "strange".

Mr Mottaki was speaking to the BBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

He said the push for the new resolution looked like an exercise in influencing public opinion.

It would have been more logical, he said, to wait for the new report on Iran's nuclear activities due soon from the International Atomic Energy Agency - the UN's nuclear watchdog - before taking action.

'Show patience'

Our recommendation is to keep their patience... to wait for completion of this process and then we can sit together
Manouchehr Mottaki

Mr Mottaki refused to be drawn on what Iran would do if tighter UN sanctions were imposed.

But in the meantime, he said, he was urging Security Council members to show patience.

"Our recommendation is to keep their patience, to continue support for Iran and IAEA, to wait for completion of this process and then we can sit together about that," he told the BBC.

Mr Mottaki rejected an invitation, made at Davos by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, to meet "any place and any time" as long as Iran first agreed to suspend its nuclear activities.

He countered that Iran would was prepared to talk to any party about its controversial nuclear programme but not if there were preconditions.

Lobbying for support

Mr Mottaki was no more encouraging on the prospects of improved relations with the United states.

"Definitely, if we see correction of their position, the reaction and the answer from the Iranian side also will be positive," he said.

Bushehr nuclear reactor (archive)
Tehran says its nuclear purposes are purely civilian

"But we do not see yet such positive and constructive approach from American side."

The Davos Economic Forum is often used by global leaders to lobby for international support.

The Iranian foreign minister said he had held several fruitful private meetings during the forum.

He described as laughable the call by Israel's foreign minister, made during the Davos meeting, for all companies represented at the summit to pull their investments out of Iran.

Mr Mottaki said Iran enjoyed billions of dollars in trade turnover with many countries.

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