Iran nuclear programme
US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif discuss seating arrangements for a meeting during a new round of nuclear negotiations in MontreuxReuters

Tehran has hit back at US President Barack Obama after he called for a 10-year-long suspension of key nuclear activities in Iran.

Reiterating Iran's rights to pursue its nuclear programme, the country's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said the American president's demands are unacceptable.

Zarif was speaking to reporters at the Swiss city of Monteux where he is engaged in a series of negotiations with world powers, including the US, to seal a deal on Iran's nuclear programme.

When asked about Obama's latest remarks, he said: "Obama's stance ... is expressed in unacceptable and threatening phrases ... Iran will not accept excessive and illogical demands ... Tehran will continue nuclear negotiations with the six powers."

Zarif, who held the first round of negotiations with his US counterpart John Kerry, went on: "It is clear that Mr Obama's comments are meant to win the US public opinion and counter the propaganda campaign by the Israeli Prime Minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] and that of other radical parties opposed to the negotiations [over Tehran's nuclear activities]."

He added: "The remarks by Mr Obama clearly point to the fact that the US, which has over the past decades, either directly or indirectly threatened the Islamic Republic of Iran and imposed many cruel and illegal sanctions [against Iran], has come to the conclusion that the policy of threats and sanctions is a failed policy."

President Obama, earlier in an interview with Reuters, said that Iran should agree to call off some of its sensitive nuclear programmes as part of the final deal with the P5+1 powers.

Iran and world powers - the US, UK, China, Russia, France and Germany – are racing against the self-imposed deadline of March to come up with a framework deal to resolve the decades-long standoff over Tehran's contentious nuclear ambitions.

Obama said in the interview: "If, in fact, Iran is willing to agree to double-digit years of keeping their program where it is right now and, in fact, rolling back elements of it that currently exist ... if we've got that, and we've got a way of verifying that, there's no other steps we can take that would give us such assurance that they don't have a nuclear weapon."

Western powers suspect Iran is pressing ahead with its covert nuclear programme to make atomic weapons but Tehran strongly denies the accusation.

The latest exchange of barbs has come when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the US to address the Republican-led Congress lobbying for strong anti-Iran measures.