Fars News: Iran Ready for Talks with US under Fair, Equal Conditions
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday he would welcome direct talks with the US if both parties are on equal footing, adding such talks could happen at any time in future.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not say whether any definite plans for such bilateral talks were under way.
“We will hold talks with the United States if they come to us on equal footing,” Ahmadinejad said in a live interview with the state TV.
Ahmadinejad also said he will attend the next UN General Assembly in New York in September in order to defend Iran’s rights and propose changes to the “unjust” Western system of administering international organizations.
Ahmadinejad has attended every annual UN General Assembly meeting since he was elected in 2005.
“Equal footing means that when two people want to talk, both have to be on equal terms. Dialogue doesn’t make any sense if one side stands in a higher position and the other in a lower position,” Ahmadinejad said.
The United States and Iran broke diplomatic relations in April 1980, after Iranian students seized the United States’ espionage center at its embassy in the heart of Tehran. The two countries have had tense relations ever since.
The Swiss Embassy in Tehran looks after U.S. interests in Iran, while the Iranians have an interest section in Pakistan’s embassy in Washington.
Last month, the Bush administration said it was considering setting up a diplomatic outpost in Iran in what would mark a dramatic U.S. return to the country nearly 30 years after the two nations severed relations.
“They haven’t demanded it (formally) yet. But if they do … we will study it with a positive view,” Ahmadinejad said Monday.
Ahmadinejad further stressed that he will not accept any conditions on the nuclear program during talks with European Union officials this weekend.
“Tehran welcomes negotiations but will not accept the precondition set by the West,” Ahmadinejad said.
Major world powers have offered Iran a package of incentives in exchange for a halt to uranium enrichment. Solana handed over the package along with a letter from foreign ministers of the six countries and himself to Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki last month.
Iran, which had earlier presented the West with a more all-embracing offer, responded to the package in a letter to Solana early this month.
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana are scheduled to meet in Geneva on July 19.
Reiterating that he would reject any conditions, Ahmadinejad said Saturday’s talks will focus on “common” points instead.
“Solana and Jalili will share points in two packages of incentives,” said Ahmadinejad.
Iran is ready to remove all international concerns regarding its nuclear program, he said, adding that Iran is prepared to hold talks with any country over its nuclear standoff, except for the Israeli regime.
The United States and its Western allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, while they have never presented any corroborative document to substantiate their allegations. Iran denies the charges and insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.
Iran is under three rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West’s illegitimate calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment, saying the demand is politically tainted and illogical.
Iran has so far ruled out halting or limiting its nuclear work in exchange for trade and other incentives, and has repeatedly said that it considers its nuclear case closed after it answered the UN agency’s questions about the history of its nuclear program.
Elsewhere, the Iranian president warned that threats of attacks on Iran, the world’s fourth-largest oil exporter, will push crude prices higher.
“Oil prices will go higher for different reasons that everyone knows, but one of the reasons is the threat of military attacks on our nuclear program. Crude prices will remain at over $100 and those involved in the market can not simply control such a matter. The measure would influence world trade transactions,” he said.
Irancove @ July 15, 2008