Nuclear talks not election issue in Iran

TEHRAN, May 5 (UPI) -- The June 12 presidential elections in Iran play no role in ongoing talks on its controversial nuclear program, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi denied allegations that Tehran was balking on nuclear talks with the 5-plus-1 group -- the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany -- until after the presidential elections in June, the Tehran Times reports.


"The election issue, as an internal matter, has nothing to do with macro issues," Qashqavi told reporters. "Macro issues are not affected by elections."

He went on to say that despite the outcome of the June contest, the foreign policy of Iran would remain relatively static, as top candidates have stressed Iran has the right to pursue nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

"Anybody who is elected president will continue foreign policy within this framework," the spokesman said.

Official registration for the June presidential race in Iran opened Tuesday with more than 1,000 candidates submitting their names for consideration.

On the moderate Reformist ticket, former Iranian Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi emerged as an early favorite, while former commander of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps Mohsen Rezaei leads the conservative Principlist slate.


Incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who traveled to Damascus on Tuesday, has not announced his intentions, but it is expected he will seek another term in office.

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