President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Iran is ready for new nuclear talks with the West, the Associated Press reports.
The Iranian president's comments come as the United States and Europe have begun tightening sanctions against Iran in an attempt to convince it to halt uranium enrichment, which they worry could lead to weapons-grade material.
Iran insists its nuclear program is only for energy and research.
The 27-member European Union imposed an oil embargo against Iran on Monday, which followed moves by the U.S. aimed at limiting Iran's ability to sell oil, which accounts for 80% of its foreign revenue.
Ahmadinejad accused the West of trying to scuttle negotiations as a way to further squeeze Iran.
"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 his speech in Kerman, in southeastern Iran, today. "Why should we shun talks? Why and how should a party that has logic and is right shun talks? It is evident that those who resort to coercion are opposed to talks and always bring pretexts and blame us instead."
Ahmadinejad's remarks follow other indications that Tehran is ready for a new round of talks with the five permanent Security Council members plus Germany. The last round of talks was held in Turkey last January, but the negotiations ended with no resolution.