TEHRAN, Aug. 29 (Mehr News Agency) - President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that Iran has provided an "exceptional opportunity" to resolve the nuclear standoff in its reply to the nuclear package proposed by five permanent Security Council members plus Germany.
"We have clearly stated everything in our response," he told a news conference.
Former president Mohammad Khatami also said on Monday that in his recent visit to Japan he stressed that Tehran is ready to start negotiations on its nuclear program.
"In a meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, we discussed ways to promote Iran-Japan relations and find a negotiated solution to Tehran's nuclear standoff," Khatami said upon arrival from Japan, the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported.
"I announced that Iran's nuclear position is clear. We are only seeking our rights and acting according to the rules, but some powers do not want the row to be resolved peacefully," Khatami added.
Ahmadinejad predicted that it was unlikely the UN Security Council would act against Iran over its nuclear program. "The time to use the Security Council as an instrument has passed."
"Our stance is clear. Peaceful nuclear energy is the legitimate right of the Iranian nation and no one can stop us from using it," he added.
The UN Security Council has given Iran until Thursday to suspend uranium enrichment.
Iran is not worried on likely sanctions by the U.S. because it is capable of meeting its needs, the president said. "We are able to protect our rights. We are ready for all scenarios."
The Iranian nation embraces peace and calm and does not seek any aggression or threats, the president warned. "The nation will not accept to be threatened as well."
"Iran's nuclear policies are completely transparent and the international community has confidence in the Islamic Republic," he stated.
The world public opinion has accepted that the nature of Iran's nuclear activities is peaceful, he added.
"160 countries have signed a statement in support of Iran's nuclear program," he said, referring to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) members.
"I think we should not consider two or three countries, which enjoy the privileges they gained due to the World War II, as equal to the international community," he explained.
Ahmadinejad condemned the U.S. and British roles in the world since World War II, saying the two countries abused their roles as permanent members of the Security Council.
"The U.S. and Britain, which are the origins of all disturbances in the world, enjoy special privileges at the Security Council and if they breach the nations' rights there is no place to defend the nations," he said.
"Until when should these two countries have dominance over the world and victimize the countries which don't approve of their acts?" he asked.
President proposes TV "debate" with Bush
He offered his U.S. counterpart George W. Bush to take part in a live, uncensored television debate with him on world issues and resolving current tensions.
"I invite Mr. Bush to a live TV debate about the ways out of world issues to prove that in the modern world no country can control other countries by use of force, weapons, and power of veto," he said. "We would voice our opinions and they would too and then the public would judge."
He went on to say that Iran wants the root of tensions in the Middle East to be removed.
"Our position on the Middle East is clear. We want all the massacre and crimes to be uprooted in the Middle East."
"Tehran is ready to guarantee that it will not divert to military purposes (in its nuclear program)," Larijani told a meeting of Assembly of Experts.
Regrettably some of the 5+1 group members, the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany, have clearly stated that they do not want Iran to have nuclear expertise which is illogical, he added.
Iran responded to a nuclear package last Tuesday, urging "serious talks" for the settlement of the nuclear dispute between Tehran and the West.
Although the nuclear package had both positive and negative aspects, the Islamic Republic accepted to hold talks on it, Larijani said.
A UN Security Council resolution has given Iran until Thursday to halt its uranium enrichment activities or face the threat of sanctions.
The U.S. had thought that the Hezbollah resistance will end in Lebanon and pushed for the Security Council resolution against Iran in a bid to pressurize Tehran in the following talks, the top nuclear negotiator stated.
"The U.S. predictions about Lebanon did not come true nor it will about Iran's nuclear drive," he added.
Washington is seeking to reach its goals in the Middle East based on "the big stick" diplomacy which should be noted, he said.
"In a meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi we discussed ways to promote Iran-Japan relations and find a negotiated solution to Tehran's nuclear standoff," Khatami said upon arrival from Japan, the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported.
"I announced that Iran's nuclear position is clear. We are only seeking our rights and acting according to the rules, but some powers do not want the row to be resolved peacefully," he added.
Khatami, who is currently the head of the International Center for Dialogue among Civilizations, on Thursday called on Japan to assume an active role in resolving the nuclear issue based on peaceful negotiations and not pressure.
... Payvand News - 8/30/06 ... --