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Obama will definitely open Iran talks: Guardian analyst

London, Nov 15, IRNA - A senior British journalist says US President-elect Barack Obama will "definitely" open dialogue with Iran although the Islamic Republic is not closely allied with the West.

Jonathan Steele, international affairs columnist in the Guardian, also said Obama will wait until next year's presidential elections in Iran.

"The West does not like President Ahmadinejad and if he is re-elected, the West has no other alternative but to talk to him.

Obama definitely wants to open dialogue with Iran but the question is at what level, when and how quickly," Steele said in an interview with IRNA in London.

Event in DC: Can Obama Untangle The Iranian Challenge?


Tuesday, Nov 18, 2:15 PM-5:30 PM - 902 Hart Senate Office Building

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Asked why the West has been opposing Iran for the past three decades after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, he said that's because of Tehran's independency from the West.

"Iran is an independent country and is not closely allied with the West. Any country that becomes independent like Iran, Venezuela and Cuba is treated as a threat to the West. In the case of Iran, its geopolitical position is also important as it is located in the Middle East and has adopted the policy of criticizing Israel," he said.

Steele added that Iran's efforts to access nuclear capability does not justify Western opposition.

He said what Iran is doing is to gain the knowledge and capability of nuclear technology and that's different from what Westerners claim Iran is seeking nuclear weapons.

"Nuclear weapons are suicide weapons and I don't think the Iranian government is pursuing that. I think (Iranian) authorities want to have enough trained nuclear physicists and specialists so that in some points in the future if the Iranian government feels they need to defend themselves, they will have the capacity to do it," he said.

Steele, who has just come back from a visit to Iran, earlier advised foreign governments through an article in Guardian that they should never pursue "regime change" in the Islamic Republic.

Asked about western silence towards the nuclear warheads of Israel, he blamed "double standards" of the West regarding issues in the Middle East.

"All regional countries including Iran are supporting a nuclear-free Middle East except Israel which refuses to join the NPT," he said.

Referring to the priority of the Middle East for Barack Obama, Guardian's senior columnist said Middle East should be Obama's top priority because of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and Iran nuclear issue.

"Yet I don't think Obama wants to be engaged in the Middle East because it has too much work to do in the US. Maybe after two years, Obama would be able to look into the problems in the Middle East," he said, blaming George Bush for the problems he has created for the American people at the domestic and international level.

... Payvand News - 11/15/08 ... --

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