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Iran will re-engage in nuclear talks, says Ahmadinejad

10 May 2011 [10:54] - TODAY.AZ
Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany – known as the P5+1 – will soon sit at the negotiating table in Istanbul, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday in Istanbul.

"Very soon we are going to provide a reply for Madame Ashton [the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy] and the concerning officials in Iran will do it very soon," Ahmadinejad said in a press conference at Istanbul’s Conrad hotel. He referred to a letter sent by EU’s Catherine Ashton in February this year after the unsuccessful Istanbul talks in January. The letter reiterated the P5+1 group’s position on Iran’s nuclear program.

"We are very happy that the P5+1 is going to return to the negotiation table. We have always supported continued dialogue and we are still ready to have dialogue and to cooperate,"

Ahmadinejad said, adding that he hoped the group was ready to have dialogue with Iran based on the principles of "justice and equality."

The Iranian president also gave signals that the next talks would be again held in Istanbul, although there was no official confirmation of it. "Hopefully in the forthcoming talks in Istanbul, we will take a few steps forward. The fact that [the P5+1] have come [back to the negotiations table makes us] understand that the continuation of dialogue is in progress," he said.

Diplomatic sources could not confirm the venue of the coming talks to the Hürriyet Daily News on Monday after the press conference. However, Turkey would be Iran’s favorite host country, the sources said.

Asked why previous negotiations on nuclear policies between Iran and the P5+1 had failed, Ahmadinejad said: "We do not think our dialogue has failed. Otherwise, Madame Ashton would certainly not go back to the negotiating table. But it is not simple enough to solve all the problems in one session."

He said if the parties only needed to focus only on legal issues within the nuclear program, then everything would be solved shortly, with no need for extended debate, as the international law was very clear on this. "It is the right of the Iranian nation to enjoy uranium enrichment. We have the right, we exercise our right under the inspections and monitoring of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency]."

There are, however, other aspects, especially politically motivated issues, Ahmadinejad said. "Clearly some Western countries do not want us to progress. They don’t want Iran and Turkey to reach that high scientific knowledge [already existing] in nuclear nations. So they do not want us to progress."

People in Middle East should decide their own fate

Regarding turmoil in the Middle East, Ahmadinejad said Iran believed all nations had the right to be free, to have free elections, and to enjoy justice and dignity, all of which he said "must be fulfilled under [times of] peace and reason."

On the other side, the Iranian president criticized military intervention in Libya, saying that it had made matters more complicated than they were before. "I told the U.N. Secretary-General [Ban Ki-moon] today that the U.N. could have prevented the military intervention," he said, adding that the best way to address the situation in Libya was to assign an independent international group, acceptable for the people, the opposition and the government, that could have prepared the ground work for free elections in the country.  

"We must join our hands and resources to help ease tension [in Middle East countries], in line with [every party’s] interests," said Ahmadinejad, adding that Iran’s recommendation was for everyone to sit and talk to each other to find a solution based on the principles of justice and the rights of freedom.

Asked if Iran had reached any conclusions regarding how the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad had to act now, Ahmadinejad said: "The people and the government of Syria have reached the maturity to decide for themselves. There is no need for intervention [from abroad]."

Ahmadinejad was not asked about the recent tensions he has had with his country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, within the limited time available for journalist's questions.

Ahmadinejad warned Obama to leave the region

Iran does not believe in the intentions and information provided by the United States regarding the death of Osama bin Laden, the former leader of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda.

"We do not trust them, but something can be taken into consideration probably – maybe they are going to wrap up the event of Sept. 11," Ahmadinejad said, adding that if somebody made an independent investigation, the world would see the one-sided and wrong information provided by the U.S. government concerning that accident.

Iranian Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi announced recently that Iran possessed reliable documents proving that bin Laden had died long before from disease. However, Ahmadinejad did not make any comments on a question related to Moslehi’s earlier statement.

Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad urged U.S. President Barack Obama to take the necessary action to withdraw from the region.

"They are going to spread violence and conflict in Pakistan. I want to warn Obama to learn from the experiences of Bush and he should immediately pull out from our region," the Iranian president said, adding that if Obama committed "such a big mistake," then he would face a fate more shameful and doomed than Bush. "In propaganda campaigns, they should not play games with the destiny and fate of a nation."

Ahmadinejad was also asked for his opinion on recent changes in the U.S.’s national security council, on which he said: "In the U.S., decisions are made outside the power of the national security team or the U.S. administration. There are people behind the scene leading and running everything."

He said he thought a change was occurring in the U.S. strategies regarding its policies in the region. "Hopefully that will happen in the right direction. We already helped them withdraw from our region. Now they have a very good excuse. They say, ‘We have been successful in effectively fighting back against terrorism.’ Thank you very much for fighting terrorism very effectively and successfully. Please go back to your home, if you can do something, do it for yourselves."

/Hurriyet Daily News/

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