Iran rules out Turkey's mediation on nuclear row

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran ruled out on Tuesday accepting Turkey as a mediator to resolve a dispute between Tehran and major powers over the country’s nuclear program, which the West fears is a cover to build bombs.

U.S. President Barack Obama, who has sought to engage Iran in a dialogue on its nuclear activities since taking office, said on Monday Turkey could be an “important player” in resolving the nuclear row with the clerical establishment.

Turkey says it is ready to help find a diplomatic solution on Iran’s nuclear issue.

But Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman rejected the idea.

“We have clearly expressed our views on the nuclear issue ... Turkey wants to play a role in solving the nuclear issue,” Ramin Mehmanparast told a weekly news conference.

“But we don’t think our transparent views needed to be interpreted by other countries.”

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had ruled out any talks with six major powers over Iran’s disputed nuclear program, which Tehran says is aimed at generating electricity.

Obama and his European allies have said time was running out for Tehran to respond to a U.N.-drafted nuclear fuel deal, warning Tehran of fresh U.N. sanctions if the country defied the deal by the end of the year.

The United States, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany, have offered to take Iran’s low-enriched uranium (LEU) and process it abroad into fuel for a civilian reactor.

Iran has backed off from the deal, refusing to send 75 percent of its LEU abroad.

Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Charles Dick