By Jeremy Herb - 01/26/12 03:20 PM EST
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday that Iran is ready to restart nuclear talks, amid heightened pressure on Iran’s economy through U.S. and European sanctions.
Ahmadinejad, in a speech Thursday, said that it’s the West that is trying to stop negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, The Associated Press reported.
“It is you who come up with excuses each time and issue resolutions on the verge of talks so that negotiations collapse,” Ahmadinejad said in Kerman in southeastern Iran, according to the AP.
While he said Iran is open for talks, Ahmadinejad also reiterated that the nation will not give up a demand that it is allowed to continue enriching uranium.
Iran said its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but the United States and its allies suspect Iran of trying to obtain nuclear weapons.
The United States enacted sanctions against Iran’s central bank last month designed to attack its oil exports, and the European Union agreed to an oil embargo against Iran starting July 1.
Facing the threat of sanctions, Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil-shipping lane in the Persian Gulf. The United States has said it will not allow such a closure.
In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Obama said the United States will not allow the Iranians to obtain nuclear weapons, and said all options are on the table to stop them.
The last talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany, broke down last year.
Obama said Tuesday that a diplomatic solution with Iran is preferred, and U.S. officials have indicated that they would be open to restarting talks with Iran.