New York Times: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran promised on Sunday that he would make “public as soon as possible” his country’s response to an Obama administration offer of talks with Iran and other nations about Tehran’s nuclear program, but an administration official reacted with skepticism.
The New York Times
By ELISABETH BUMILLER
Published: April 27, 2009
WASHINGTON — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran promised on Sunday that he would make “public as soon as possible” his country’s response to an Obama administration offer of talks with Iran and other nations about Tehran’s nuclear program, but an administration official reacted with skepticism.
In an interview in Tehran broadcast Sunday on “This Week” on ABC, he said that Iran was preparing a new package of proposals in response to an administration offer this month to talk directly with the country and other powers seeking to rein in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
Last August, the Bush administration rejected an Iranian proposal because it ignored the West’s demand that Iran suspend its enrichment of uranium as a precondition for talks. Since then, the Obama administration and its European allies have begun to consider dropping the American insistence that Tehran shut down its nuclear facilities in the early stage of any talks.
“Everyone knows that in this year many changes, developments have unfolded on the international stage,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said in the interview. “Many new issues have been added to the agenda, so to speak.”
He declined to elaborate on the contents of his proposal.
But an administration official, responding later on Sunday to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s comments, said, “I would guess that what we are going to see is something similar to what we saw before, with a few changes here and there.” The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to be seen as prejudging Iran’s proposal.
Mr. Ahmadinejad also said that though President Obama had talked about an American-Iranian relationship in which past divisions were overcome, it was difficult for his country to forget decades of history.
“In the past 29 years, different U.S. administrations have opposed the Iranian people,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said. “Now they say that we have given up that enmity. That’s fine. We have welcomed such comments. But an administration which, up until yesterday, was saying that I’m going to kill you, and today says that I’m not going to kill you, is that sufficient?”