Iran Says Nuclear Debate Over, Ready for Obama Talk (Update1)
By Ladane Nasseri and Ali Sheikholeslami
Sept. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the debate over Iran’s nuclear program is over, while he is ready to discuss a range of international issues with President Barack Obama.
At his first formal press conference since his June re- election, Ahmadinejad said today he didn’t recognize deadlines for talks on Iran’s nuclear plans and isn’t willing to negotiate on its “undeniable” rights.
Iran is ready for talks about the peaceful use of nuclear energy for all countries, as well as organizing worldwide nuclear non-proliferation, Ahmadinejad said. His press conference in Tehran was carried live by state television.
The U.S. and its main allies suspect Iran of using its nuclear program to develop atomic weapons. Iran says the technology is destined for peaceful uses only. Israel said last month it wanted “substantive and prompt steps to halt Iran’s military nuclear program.”
The International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran are in a “stalemate” over Iran’s nuclear intentions, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said in prepared remarks for the board of governors in Vienna today.
Ahmadinejad, who won a second term in the disputed election, urged the U.S. to change its approach to relations with Iran, saying the Persian Gulf nation would welcome this. Ahmadinejad said Iran is ready to discuss global issues with Obama.
Talks With U.S.
“We are ready to discuss world issues with the U.S. president in the presence of mass media,” Ahmadinejad said.
Ahmadinejad and an Iranian delegation will attend the forthcoming United Nations General Assembly session in New York, he said. “We protest the current situation,” he added after criticizing the way the UN is run. Iran is under UN sanctions because of its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.
The U.S., China, Russia, France and the U.K, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, and Germany, met Sept. 2 to discuss an offer for direct talks with Iran on its atomic work. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said July 27 that the U.S. will seek support for “a much tougher position” should Iran fail to revive nuclear talks in coming weeks.
Iran will present updated proposals aimed at spurring talks over its nuclear program this week, Ahmadinejad said. Revisions to Iran’s package for talks were made in response to global developments over the past year, including the economic recession and the 2008 conflict in Georgia, the state-run Press TV cited Saeed Jalili, the country’s top nuclear negotiator, as saying on Sept. 1.
Of his June 12 election victory, Ahmadinejad said, “this election has been the most legitimate in the past 100 years in Iran.” He cited the large turnout of voters and added that no evidence for fraud was found.
His main challengers said the vote was rigged, leading to mass protests in Tehran and other major cities. Thousands of demonstrators and opposition figures were arrested. More than 140 were put on trial on charges of fueling unrest and undermining the regime as part of a “soft” coup to overthrow Islamic rule. The opposition said at least 72 people died in the unrest or in custody, while officials said 30 died.
To contact the reporters on this story: Ladane Nasseri in Beirut at firstname.lastname@example.org; Ali Sheikholeslami in London at email@example.com.
Last Updated: September 7, 2009 06:56 EDT