New York Times: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran said Wednesday that he was preparing a new proposal to resolve disputes with the West over Iran’s nuclear program, opening the door to talks with the United States, the official news agency IRNA reported.
The New York Times
By NAZILA FATHI
Published: April 15, 2009
TEHRAN — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran said Wednesday that he was preparing a new proposal to resolve disputes with the West over Iran’s nuclear program, opening the door to talks with the United States, the official news agency IRNA reported.
Mr. Ahmadinejad said during a speech in the southeastern city of Kerman that Iran was still in the process of preparing the new package and that it would be presented when it was ready, IRNA reported. He also said that Iran was willing to hold talks with the United States as long as they were based on “respect.”
“They have said they want to resolve issues through diplomatic channels, and we say that this is excellent,” he was quoted as saying. “Our people favor logic, dialogue and constructive cooperation based on respect, justice and rights of nations.”
Mr. Ahmadinejad did not elaborate on the contents of the proposal.
The Obama administration said last week that it would join discussions with Iran and other nations about Tehran’s nuclear program, breaking with past American policy of shunning direct talks with Iran. Despite the developments, tensions between Washington and Tehran remain high over Iran’s decision to try an American journalist it accuses of spying for the United States, among other matters.
Mr. Ahmadinejad warned Wednesday that Washington should adopt a respectful tone toward Iran. “The Iranian nation might forget the past and start a new era,” he said, in a reference to Iran’s accusations that the United States has meddled in its affairs in the past.
“But their response would be like the one given to Mr. Bush if anyone tries to speak to them from a position of arrogance,” he added.
The Obama administration and its European allies are considering dropping a longstanding American insistence that Tehran shut down its nuclear facilities during the early phase of any negotiations.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, met in Washington on Wednesday to discuss Iran’s nuclear program.
The United States and several allies have accused Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear program. Iran contends that it wants only to produce nuclear energy.
On Tuesday, Mr. Ahmadinejad said Iran was planning to fire a new rocket into space despite concerns in the West over Iran’s missile program.
He did not specify when the launching would take place.