Source: Press TV
Iran announces its readiness to talk with the US amid stepped up Israeli
efforts to delay high-level discussions between the two countries.
US President-elect Barack Obama has promised to hold unconditional
talks with senior Iranian officials to resolve the controversy
surrounding nuclear activities conducted by Tehran.
In an exclusive interview with Japan's NHK broadcaster on Friday, Iranian Deputy
Foreign Minister Mehdi Akhoundzadeh said Tehran is prepared to enter direct
negotiations with Washington in line with the promises of the US president-elect
He, however, urged Barack Obama to respect the sacrosanct rights and legal
entitlement of the Iranian nation in nuclear research and the development of
"Respect for Iran's divisive rights should be a foundation stone of Washington's
diplomacy with the Islamic Republic," said Akhoundzadeh.
"The future US president should know that no country can deprive Iranians of
their sacrosanct rights," he added.
Obama has promised to jettison the Bush administration's policy of isolating
Tehran and to hold unconditional talks with senior Iranian officials.
The interview comes only a day after Israeli President Shimon Peres advised US
President-elect Barack Obama to shelve his plans to hold direct talks with
Tehran until after the presidential elections in Iran -- scheduled for June 12,
Peres claimed that if the negotiations take place before the Iranian elections,
they would likely "affect the results of the elections" as Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has decided to "run for a second term".
Akhoundzadeh responded that Israeli efforts to dramatize the uranium enrichment
activities conducted in Iran are mainly aimed at diverting world attention from
the conflagration in Gaza.
A UN Human Rights Council report released on December 11 has described the
Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip as a blatant example of "crimes against
UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur Richard Falk compared Israel's
treatment of the Palestinians to Nazi atrocities and urged the United Nation to
take necessarily steps to ensure the protection of the coastal strip.
"It is an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe that each day poses the entire 1.5
million Gazans to an unspeakable ordeal, to a struggle to survive in terms of
their health," said Falk.
Support for a US diplomatic boycott of Tehran has been the dominant Israeli
approach for years. Tel Aviv says Iran's nuclear program poses an 'existential
threat' to Israel.
Iran, a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has rejected the
allegation, insisting that its nuclear activities are directed at the civilian
applications of the technology.
The NPT grants Tehran the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.
The pertinent UN body dealing with nuclear programs stated in its latest report
that it "has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared
nuclear material in Iran".
The UN nuclear watchdog also conceded that there has been "no indication" that
Iran conducts nuclear reprocessing activities.
Iran nevertheless has been urged to increase its cooperation with the agency to
resolve the controversy surrounding the "alleged studies" of weaponization
attributed to Tehran by Western countries.
... Payvand News - 12/27/08 ... --
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