AFP: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that Iran was the "only chance" for his US counterpart Barack Obama to succeed after the crises Washington has faced in neighbouring Iraq and Afghanistan. By Hiedeh Farmani
TEHRAN (AFP) — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that Iran was the "only chance" for his US counterpart Barack Obama to succeed after the crises Washington has faced in neighbouring Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ahmadinejad also said he is currently drafting a letter to Obama which will be "published in due time."
His remarks came soon after Washington said the credibility of the UN Security Council "was at stake" in the push to impose new sanctions against Iran for defiantly pursuing its controversial nuclear programme.
"Mr Obama has only one chance and that is Iran. This is not emotional talk but scientific. He has but one place to say that 'I made a change and I turned over the world equation' and that is Iran," Ahmadinejad said in a live interview on state television.
"He has but one chance to stay as head of the state and succeed. Obama cannot do anything in Palestine. He has no chance. What can he do in Iraq? Nothing. And Afghanistan is too complicated.
"The best way for him is to accept and respect Iran and enter into cooperation. Many new opportunities will be created for him."
Iran sees itself as a key player in the region. Its top officials, including supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have regularly lashed out at Washington's military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying it is fuelling terrorism in the region.
The animosity between Iran and the United States, which have had no diplomatic ties since the 1979 Islamic revolution, has surged under the presidency of Ahmadinejad, who has made Tehran's nuclear programme an issue of "national pride" and refused to abandon it.
After nearly a year of offering diplomatic initiatives, Obama in recent weeks has stepped up efforts for a fourth set of UN sanctions against Iran for continuing to enrich uranium, the most controversial part of its atomic programme.
But China, which has emerged as Iran's main economic partner in recent years and one of the UN veto-wielding power, is still insisting that diplomacy is the best option to solve the crisis.
Obama held talks with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao on Monday in a bid to garner Beijing's support for sanctions.
Afterwards, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said China backs a "dual-track strategy" — continued dialogue with Tehran while considering the possibility of sanctions if that fails to halt sensitive nuclear work.
"China always believes that dialogue and negotiation are the best way out for the issue. Pressure and sanctions cannot fundamentally solve it," Jiang told reporters.
But she added: "The actions of the Security Council should help turn around the situation and properly solve the issue through dialogue and negotiation."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, saw China's latest stance as a "positive development."
"China is now part of the process, even though we can't say clearly what the outcome will be," she said on the sidelines of a nuclear summit in Washington launched by Obama.
US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley warned that the credibility of the world powers was "at stake" when it came to Iran issue.
He said members of the UN Security Council had a "special responsibility" and "they have to make their own judgement, but we think at this point the credibility of the international community is at stake."
But Ahmadinejad remained defiant, saying the West has only two ways "either to go with the foul play that we have seen in the past, four, five, twenty years and which we don't care about. Or accept Iran and cooperate, which is better for them and for us. We do not seek any conflicts, but they cannot take a decision."
He also reiterated on Tuesday that he has written to UN chief Ban ki-Moon to "set up an independent fact-finding committee about the September 11" attacks in the United States.
"They make a suspicious incident and then cover it up, so that nobody can get into it and make an excuse out of it to come in" Iraq and Afganistan, said the hardliner who has previously dismissed 9/11 as a "big lie".
Ahmadinejad said the UN must set up the committee that can be approved by regional nations to "investigate what happened, who the perpetrator was and expose them.
"Regional nations will grab them by the neck and make their lives hell."