Iran refuses to discuss its nuclear research program with USA

Iranian Oil Minister Sayed Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh made the remark late Wednesday in an interview with the Venezuela-based television station Telesur.

Iran maintains its nuclear program is entirely for peaceful energy purposes, while the U.S. is concerned the country could be using the technology for nuclear weapons, the AP reports.

The Iranian official, who was in Venezuela for an OPEC meeting, spoke after his government dismissed as a "propaganda move" a U.S. announcement that it would join in face-to-face talks with Iran once Tehran puts its atomic activities on hold.

Before leaving for meetings Thursday in Vienna, Austria, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that while the U.S. was willing to join talks between European nations and Iran, it was also helping to prepare a package of sanctions that Tehran could face should it decline the new offer.

"What Ms. Rice says are words the American authorities always repeat," the Iranian oil minister told Telesur.

He said recent high oil prices are linked to "the United States' constant threats" against Iran.