President Ahmadinejad: Resuming Iran-US Interaction Requires One More Step by Washington

A034928410.jpgTEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday hailed the latest US intelligence report on the Iranian nuclear program as a positive step and called for more such moves from Washington.

The president told reporters that a different situation between the two countries could be created if more steps like the intelligence report followed.

“It is a positive step, a step forward,” Ahmadinejad told a news conference.

“If one or two other steps are taken, the conditions will be ripe and will lose their complexities, and the way will be open for interactions between the two sides,” he said.

Meantime, he reaffirmed the rejection by other Iranian officials of the US report’s assertion that Tehran had been working to develop a nuclear program before 2003.

“We do not say that in the report there is no problem and there is no imprecision or error. We welcomed the report as a whole and as a step forward. A part of the report approved the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities. There was, of course, another part which made some references to the past and if the US intelligence body conducts a more precise study, it will confirm the views of Iran,” Ahmadinejad said.

Iran has always stressed that its nuclear program is peaceful, but until last week, the United States and Western allies had countered that Iran was hiding plans for a bomb.

The latest US intelligence assessment on Iran, however, says Tehran is pursuing a peaceful nuclear program. The US National Intelligence Estimate was in stark contrast to a 2005 estimate that said Tehran was developing a nuclear weapons program.

Asked what further steps the United States could take, Ahmadinejad said, “Let us not get into a hurry. Let them (the Americans) follow and stabilize the step they have taken. Our addressee understands our words.

“One of the steps that need to be taken is a major change in their regional position. They need to respect the rights of the countries in the region. Regional nations have rights and want to fully use their rights. Respecting these rights is a serious change in strategy. This is the next step. If this happens, you will be able to see the results,” he said.

“It is not that a 60-year issue can’t be resolved,” Ahmadinejad said referring to an Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding, “We have democratic solutions (to the Palestinian issue).”

The president further underlined his country’s fully legal nuclear activities, and stressed the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programs.

“Iran’s nuclear activities are fully legal and are conducted within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (rules and regulations). Our activities are peaceful and no diversion has been observed in them. We have frequently voiced our readiness for cooperation with other countries in the same regard and there is no more room for anyone to cast doubt over our nuclear programs.”

“The main body of the problem has been resolved. There are no ambiguities and the ground has been set for cooperation on different issues,” he said.

“A second step could be on the nuclear issue. They (Americans) could say that the issue has been finished.”

Meantime, Ahmadinejad made clear that any more economic sanctions against Iran would have “no legal leg” to stand on.

Elsewhere, he repeated a previous invitation to President Bush for a public debate and said Iran was studying requests from US officials to come to Iran.

“Many requests reach us from American officials for dialogue and travel to Iran, and we are studying these requests,” Ahmadinejad said.

The two foes have had no diplomatic relations since the early years after 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran.

But despite mounting tensions, Iran and the United States have already held three rounds of talks this year over the security situation in Iraq.

“The nuclear issue is not the only question between us and the United States. There are many questions that have to be considered and resolved,” Ahmadinejad cautioned.

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