Tehran, 24 Apr. (IPS) Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad said on Monday 24 April 2006 that he was open to talk to the Americans, “but on specific conditions”, which he did not specified.
Speaking in an hour-long press conference in Tehran, the second in as many months, he said Iran “is ready to talk to all world countries but negotiation with anybody has its own conditions”, and he specifically named the United States and excluded Israel.
this is the first time that Iran is raising the possibility of direct meeting with the Americans.
"If these conditions are met, we will negotiate (with Washington)" said the President, quoted by the official news agency IRNA as having said during his press conference with domestic and foreign reporters.
Iranian political analysts said this is the first time that Iran is raising the possibility of direct meeting with the Americans.
The Mollahrchy had earlier broken a taboo by accepting to talk to the “Great Satan” over Iraq.
"For instance, with Russia that we are working together, we can talk easily. Talks with China, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the US have their own conditions”, the hard line, if not fanatic Ahmadi Nezhad stressed.
He also threatened to leave the international nuclear watchdog in case it continues to “ignore Iran’s righteous rights to possess nuclear technology”.
"If the UN nuclear agency creates problems for Iran, we would be obliged to rethink our membership in the agency. If we reach the conclusion that three years of intrusive examination of Iranian sites by IAEA was useless, we may reconsider our membership with the agency", he pointed out.
“What we have got in the 36 years of our membership in the NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty) that is supposed to help us acquiring nuclear technology. Not only we got nothing, but they are asking us to give up what we have mastered ourselves”, he said angrily, adding that Iran is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency and is paying its membership fees every year, “but, the agency did not provide Iran with any technical assistance”.
"Our nuclear program is transparent to the extent that when we managed to enrich uranium to produce fuel at laboratory level, we declared it to the entire world. We have nothing to hide", Ahmadi Nezhad went on, reiterating that suspending Iran’s nuclear activities, including enriching uranium is “out of question”.
According to Iranian analysts, this was a direct answer to Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, the former top nuclear negotiator saying that Iran could accept “short period” suspension of nuclear activities on conditions that this does not be construed as a readiness to abandon it.
"Iran would not have a problem with a short-term suspension. But the difficulty is that the West and the United States would use that as an excuse for extending the suspension indefinitely”, Mr. Rohani, now the Personal Representative of the Leader at the Supreme National Security Council pointed out.
"Our red line in Iran's nuclear case is that Iran's rights must be guaranteed and we must be able to enrich (uranium)", he added, speaking during a forum held in Tehran on the situation of Iraq and its repercussions on the region.
Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad expressed satisfaction at Tehran-Moscow relations and hoped for the expansion ties between the two nations. "In general, Russia's approach towards Iran has so far been friendly and acceptable, which we wish will continue", he stressed.
Asked on the possibility of the United Nations Security Council imposing sanctions on Iran in case Tehran did not cooperated with the IAEA, he said "I think it is very unlikely for them (UNSC members) to be so stupid as to do that and I think even the two or three countries who oppose us are wise enough not to resort to such a big mistake, for they would suffer more harm that we might".
He also downplayed the possibility of any military attack against Iran and said that such an action will be meaningless since Iran will strongly defend itself and the enemy will not venture to take such an action.
"Those are dangerous talk. They even do not dare to talk about military action, because they know how detrimental such a practice will be. If they make such a mistake, the situation will further worsen for them”, he warned, without specifying what harm the West would suffer in case the UN imposes sanctions.
Analysts said Iran feel comfortable at the big gap dividing Russia and China with the major Western powers in the one hand and even between Washington and the European Union on the other.
"Any military action on Iran will draw their economic and social situation to a disaster. So, their belligerent talk is only a media and psychological pressure over Iran, but it is futile and they know it", he assured.
On Iraq, a country he described as “our friend and brother”, Ahmadi Nezhad repeated that the only way to restore peace and security in Iraq is for the “occupiers” to leave the country and let the Iraqi responsible for their own security and political matters “The sooner the occupiers leave, the better”, he said.
“More than ten times the Americans sent us messages asking our help on security in Iraq. Iraqi leaders also asked called on us on the same issue. But though we do not trust the Americans, considering th4e situation there, where each day tens of Iraqis are killed, we decided to accept. However, we believe that with the formation of new government, there is no need" (for talking with the Americans).
The soonest the occupiers leave Iraq, the better for that country and the whole of the region.
As he was talking to journalists in Tehran, the new Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Jawad al-Maleki, a secular Shi’ite, was choosing a cabinet he assured would be “national”, power sharing among the dominant Shi'ites and the Sunni and Kurds minorities.
On the question of Holocaust, he criticised the Germany authorities for “continuing to make the Germans feel ashamed for something that happened during the World War II.
"Some 60 years has passed since the end of World War II, why should the people of Germany and Palestine pay now for a war in which the current generation was not involved", he said, adding “and why requiem should be told for only one group of people (the Jews) that suffered?” he asked.
The Iranian President has created international indignation when, a month ago, he said Israel must be “wiped off the world’s map” and then seriously questioned the Holocaust.
“Why the West does not allow a free debate ion the question. Why is that no one is allowed to research the matter?”, he repeated, asking the West why they refuse the Palestinians a government they have elected freely and democratically? ENDS AHAMADI PRESS CONF 25406