Iran Seeks “Common Ground” With West: Ahmadinejad

Below is an article from Reuters that can be found at reuters.com.
Mon Jul 28, 2008 2:36pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday that Iran will seek “common ground” with the United States and five other world powers that have proposed incentives for Tehran to freeze its nuclear enrichment program.

NBC News, which interviewed Ahmadinejad in Iran, also said the leader of the world’s fourth-largest crude oil producer believes the oil market is overvalued in part because of manipulation.

Speaking less than a week before a deadline for Iran’s reply to the incentives package, Ahmadinejad told the U.S. television network that progress toward agreement with the West would depend on the sincerity of a shift in the U.S. approach to Tehran.

Western officials said after a meeting with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator in Geneva on July 19 that Tehran had two weeks to reply to an offer of a halt to new steps toward more U.N. sanctions if Iran froze the expansion of its nuclear program. That would give Iran until Saturday to reply.

“They submitted a package and we responded by submitting our own package,” Ahmadinejad said through an interpreter in an excerpt of the NBC interview aired on Monday.

“It’s very natural. In the first steps, we are going to negotiate over the common ground as they exist inside the two packages. If the two parties succeed in agreeing over the common ground, that will help us to work on our differences as well, to reach an agreement.”

U.S. State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos called Ahmedinejad’s comments “rhetoric and more rhetoric” and saying the State Department wanted a definitive response from Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, the West’s designated negotiator.

“We are waiting for a definitive statement, Gallegos said. “We have stated clearly that it should come through the normal channel, which is Jalili to Solana, and the clock on the two weeks is ticking.”

NBC also said Ahmadinejad denied Iran was working to produce a bomb, paraphrasing him as saying nuclear weapons are outdated.

Iran has so far ruled out a freeze to start preliminary talks or suspension of enrichment to start formal negotiations on the incentives package proposed by the six powers — the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

In a policy shift, a U.S. diplomat attended the Geneva talks, which Iran has characterized as a success for Iran.

On Monday, Ahmadinejad told NBC: “The main question here is whether this approach is a continuation of the old approach or is it a totally new approach.

“If this is the continuation of the old process, the Iranian people need to defend their right, its interests as well,” he said. “But if the approach changes, we will be facing a new situation and the response by the Iranian people will be a positive one.”

The United States has warned Iran that it will face more sanctions if it fails to meet the deadline. Washington has not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails.

Asked if Iran would agree to suspend uranium enrichment in order to gain international acceptance, Ahmadinejad said Iran already enjoys “very good economic and cultural relations with countries around the world.”

“For the continuation of our lives and for progress, we do not need the services, if I can use the word, of a few countries,” he said.

Ahmadinejad announced during the weekend that Iran had more than 5,000 active centrifuges for enriching uranium, which suggested a rapid expansion of the nuclear work that the West suspects is aimed at making bombs.

Earlier this month, Iran rattled international markets by test-firing a series of missiles.

(Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed)

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Bill Trott)

About these ads

2 Responses to Iran Seeks “Common Ground” With West: Ahmadinejad

  1. Carter Beale says:

    I came across the most beautiful book, actually David Cole (political affairs correspondent for The Nation) called it “The most beautiful political book ever published.”

    It is called WE WILL BE HEARD: Voices in the Struggle for Constitutional Rights Past and Present. It features 90 intimate portraits based on interviews by the authors Bud and Ruth Schultz of people targeted by government for their political activities, advocating the right to unionize, an end to racial segregation, and an end to war, movements that helped define and transform the twentieth century, as well as on those who faced, and continue to face, persecution or imprisonment in the name of national security.

    Excellent book I highly recommend it. The forward is by Howard Zinn! and David Cole gives an afterword. I figured those of you reading this blog would be the type with whom I could pass on the good word…

  2. Matt says:

    I think it’s pretty hilarious that Obama thinks he can talk Ahmadinejad down. It really shows some ignorance of there culture. I just read a really good article,Should The President of the United States Talk to Ahmadinejad? , that does a pretty good job explaining why this probably wouldn’t have great results.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 13,824 other followers

%d bloggers like this: