AFP: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday Iran was ready for nuclear negotiations with the world powers but the country’s “inalienable rights” were off limits, state television reported.
TEHRAN, December 4, 2010 (AFP) – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday Iran was ready for nuclear negotiations with the world powers but the country’s “inalienable rights” were off limits, state television reported.
“We have said many times that we will not negotiate the inalienable rights of the Iranian nation with anyone, but if they want to talk about cooperation, then we are ready,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by the channel’s website.
“We are ready to negotiate but… (world powers) should acknowledge that the rights of the Iranian nation are non-negotiable. They should also stop being hostile,” he said.
Iran insists that it is entitled to enrich uranium and has vowed to continue the controversial work, despite repeated ultimatums from the UN Security Council to halt its activity.
The West suspects the Islamic republic is seeking a nuclear weapons capability. Iran says its programme has purely civilian purposes.
Ahmadinejad made his remarks ahead of long-stalled talks in Geneva, where representatives of world powers are to meet Iranian officials on Monday and Tuesday to discuss the country’s nuclear drive.
The agenda for the talks has yet to be agreed, however, as Tehran wants a wider discussion that includes security and political issues.
“We are ready to have constructive cooperation in the fields of economy, nuclear, international security and politics, and to cooperate on resolving global issues,” Ahmadinejad said.
On Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Iran to be constructive at the Geneva talks.
“We hope that you will come to it, as we will, in good faith and prepared to engage constructively on your nuclear programme,” she said in Bahrain.
Clinton acknowledged that Iran has “the right to a peaceful nuclear programme,” but said Tehran must fully address the world’s concerns about its atomic activities.