Iran News ...


12/27/08

Iran primed for talks with US

Source: Press TV


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.
Iran announces its readiness to talk with the US amid stepped up Israeli efforts to delay high-level discussions between the two countries.

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 regarding 'change'.

He, however, urged Barack Obama to respect the sacrosanct rights and legal entitlement of the Iranian nation in nuclear research and the development of related technology.

"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, 2009.

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 humanity".

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.
 

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