AFP: Hardline Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday mocked those opposed to the Islamic republic’s controversial nuclear program, saying they were suffering mental problems. by Siavosh Ghazi
TEHRAN, May 18, 2006 (AFP) – Hardline Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday mocked those opposed to the Islamic republic’s controversial nuclear program, saying they were suffering mental problems.
“Those who get upset at the happiness and progress of others are suffering from a mental problem and therefore should find a way to cure themselves,” Ahmadinejad told a rally, according to the ISNA student news agency.
“We have repeatedly said that we do not have any conflict with others, but will do our best to get our rights,” he said in his address in the town of Zarandieh during a trip to Markazi province.
Ahmadinejad has been using increasingly flowery language in the showdown with the West over Iran’s atomic ambitions, insisting on Wednesday that he would not accept “nuts for gold” in reference to an EU offer aimed at resolving the crisis.
However, he said Thursday that Tehran was ready to negotiate on its nuclear program with all nations, except its arch-foe Israel, widely believed to be the only nuclear-armed power in the region.
“The Iranian nation has repeatedly said it is seeking its right in nuclear technology, and has maintained that it is ready to negotiate with all legitimate nations,” referring to the exception of the Jewish state.
On Wednesday however, Ahmadinejad had ridiculed the European Union plan to offer trade and technology incentives in exchange for his country agreeing to halt sensitive nuclear work.
The European powers are drawing up a package they hope will coax Iran into voluntarily curbing its atomic ambitions, an offer EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said contains issues relating to nuclear, economic matters, and maybe, if necessary, security matters”.
Diplomats said that under the draft deal, Russia would enrich uranium on Iran’s behalf and could also help Iran acquire a light-water nuclear reactor.
The offer was to have been reviewed Friday in London by the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany but US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that the world powers would now meet on Tuesday to work out a common approach.
Washington has urged a resolution that would invoke Chapter Seven of the UN Charter, which can authorize sanctions or even military action as a last resort.
But fellow veto-wielding Security Council members Russia and China, which have close trade ties with Tehran, have so far opposed coercive measures to rein in Iran’s nuclear activities.
Asked about the EU proposal, McCormack said the United States would not give Iran security guarantees in exchange for forfeiting its nuclear program.
“That’s not something from the United States that’s on the table,” he told reporters.
He recalled US President George W. Bush’s oft-repeated position that no option is off the table, including the military option.
Ahmadinejad boasted on Thursday about Iran’s announcement last month that it had successful enriched uranium, a process which can be used for a nuclear power plant or for the core of an atomic bomb.
“Based on what I heard more than two billion people celebrated Iran’s progress in nuclear technology along with us,” he said.
“Therefore our enemies should know that the slogan of ‘nuclear technology is our undeniable right’ is the slogan of billions of people and not only the Iranians.”