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Ahmadinejad Rules Out Nuclear Concessions, Urges Obama Debate

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09/08/2009 12:52 AM
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Ahmadinejad Rules Out Nuclear Concessions, Urges Obama Debate
Sept. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ruled out negotiations on his country’s nuclear program while saying he is willing to discuss other international issues in public with President Barack Obama.

At his first formal press conference since his June 12 re- election, Ahmadinejad said yesterday he didn’t recognize deadlines for talks on Iran’s nuclear plans. “Iran’s nuclear issue is over,” he said. “We will never negotiate Iran’s undeniable rights.”

At the same time, the Iranian president said, “we are ready to discuss world issues with the U.S. president in the presence of mass media. The time of hidden agreements is over, and television debates are the best way.”

The U.S. and its main allies suspect Iran of using its nuclear program to develop atomic weapons. Iran says the technology is destined for peaceful use only. Israel said last month it wanted “substantive and prompt steps to halt Iran’s military nuclear program.”

Ahmadinejad, who won a second term in the disputed election, urged the U.S. to change its approach to relations with Iran, saying the Persian Gulf nation would welcome such a development. Ahmadinejad said Iran is ready to discuss global issues with Obama. The White House said it hadn’t heard from the Iranian government.

Ahmadinejad and an Iranian delegation will attend the forthcoming United Nations General Assembly session in New York, he said. “We protest the current situation,” he added after criticizing the way the UN is run. Iran is under UN sanctions because of its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.

UN Security Council

The U.S., China, Russia, France and the U.K, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, and Germany, met Sept. 2 to discuss an offer for direct talks with Iran on its atomic work. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said July 27 that the U.S. will seek support for “a much tougher position” should Iran fail to revive nuclear talks in coming weeks.

Iran will present updated proposals to the security council group responding to Western concerns about Iran’s nuclear program this week, Ahmadinejad said.

Revisions to Iran’s package for the talks were made in response to global developments over the past year, including the economic recession and the 2008 conflict in Georgia, state- run Press TV cited Saeed Jalili, the country’s top nuclear negotiator, as saying on Sept. 1.

Iran is ready for talks about the peaceful use of nuclear energy for all countries, as well as organizing worldwide nuclear non-proliferation, Ahmadinejad said. His press conference in Tehran was carried live by state television yesterday.

IAEA Stalemate

The International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran are in a “stalemate” over Iran’s nuclear intentions, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said in prepared remarks for the board of governors of the UN’s nuclear watchdog in Vienna yesterday. Even so, Ahmadinejad said Iran will continue “interacting” with the agency.

The deadline for Iran to have talks on nuke program comes to the end of this month. The US will issue a naval blockade sometime in October and this will lead to Iran to respond with attacks on or fleet and the start of WW3.