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Dialogue is only solution to Iran's nuclear standoff: Rafsanjani

TEHRAN, Nov. 17 (Mehr News Agency) -- Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said in Tehran on Friday that the only solution to Iran's nuclear standoff is through holding talks and exercising wisdom.

"We have a difficult challenge in the nuclear issue, however this is a difficult matter for the United States too," Rafsanjani said in his sermon at Friday prayers.

Having veto power at the UN Security Council cannot solve all problems for the U.S., he added.

"What's important is the nations and the public opinion."

Pointing to the so-called U.S. war on terrorism, the senior cleric noted that President George W. Bush made a "strategic mistake". "Bush's policies in the world and the Middle Eastern region have dealt the greatest blow to the American people."

"The main mistake of Bush and his colleagues was that they had imagined that they could achieve their goals in a short opportunity, but they had ignored the long-term damages they inflicted on the region," Rafsanjani observed.

U.S. talks overtures

The U.S. indications of readiness for Iraq talks with Iran are because they need Tehran's help, not the other way around, he said.

"They (the United States) are gradually sinking in the Iraq quagmire and now they cannot help themselves out," he added.

"It would take us a lot of efforts now to tow them out of the bottom of the swamp ... now they say they are ready in principle to talk with us."

"The U.S. should not assume that we are interested in talks and that it is a concession that they are giving us," he said, commenting on remarks by a senior U.S. official that Washington was ready "in principle" for direct talks with Iran on Tehran's role in Iraq.

The U.S. officials, who previously gave Iran a cold shoulder, now are saying that they are ready, in principle, for direct talks with Tehran on Iraq, the cleric pointed out.

Washington did not manage to promote security in Afghanistan or control terrorism, therefore if it wants to take a correct measure, it should be content with its rights and respect the others' rights as well.

... Payvand News - 11/17/06 ... --

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