Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that Tehran was ready for negotiations with world powers over its nuclear drive but warned it was not prepared to accept any threats.
The comments came days ahead of a key meeting between Iran's top nuclear negotiator and the EU foreign policy chief, which will also be attended for the first time by a US envoy.
Khamenei's intervention marked his first remarks on the five-year standoff since world powers last month presented a package aimed at ending a crisis which has raised fears of regional conflict and sent oil prices spiralling.
"Iran has decided to take part in negotiations but it will not accept any threat," state television quoted Khamenei as saying.
Burns will join European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and envoys from China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany in Saturday's discussions with Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, a U.S. official said in Washington.
The U.S. government had said previously it would not be involved in pre-negotiations with the Islamic Republic unless it halts enrichment.
But Iran has not accepted to stop its nuclear work, as demanded by the six powers before formal talks can begin on the package of economic and other benefits they have offered to Tehran.
"This (nuclear) achievement belongs to all the Iranian nation and no power would be able to deprive the Iranian nation of this technology and certain right," Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.
"In relation to negotiations ... we have very clearly defined red lines," he said in a speech quoted by state radio.
Iranian officials have previously said uranium enrichment was a "red line" and would continue.
"We have said clearly that if anyone takes any stupid action against Iran, our response will be decisive," Khamenei warned.
Last Mod: 17 Temmuz 2008, 11:58