Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, in an interview published Monday, said his country did not believed Israel or the United States would launch a military strike against Iran over its nuclear program.

Asked in an interview with Newsweek magazine and The Washington Post if he believed there would an Israeli or US attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, Mottaki answered flatly: "No."

He did not elaborate.

At the same time, he welcomed the US decision last July to send one of the top State Department officials, William Burns, to attend negotiations with Iran in Europe, interpreting the move as a realistic step.

"We welcomed the participation by Mr. Burns in the Geneva talks," Mottaki said. "We feel that if this is the real approach taken by the US right now vis-a-vis the nuclear issue, they must continue with such efforts."

The foreign minister said that previously, the administration of President George W. Bush attached conditions to its participation in the talks with Iran.

Burns''s presence in Geneva, argued Mottaki, "meant that those were no longer in play."