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24 Sep, 2010 07:57

Iran agrees to ‘fair’ nuclear talks

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his country is ready for dialogue on its nuclear program and could meet with world powers for negotiations as early as October.

Ahmadinejad made the announcement during a news conference in New York; a day after President Barack Obama spoke at the UN General Assembly urging Iran to resume dialogue over its nuclear ambitions.

"According to preliminary plans, an Iranian representative could meet with one of the members of the group," Ahmadinejad said, referring to the P5+1 (five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany).

The UN Security Council has passed four rounds of sanctions against Iran for its refusal to stop uranium enrichment.

However, even in the absence of any negotiations, striking Iran would not be an option, said Russian Foreign Minster Sergey Lavrov

I believe that would be the shortest way for the radicals in Iran [to prevail and deicide] that: ‘now that we [have been] struck we must have nuclear weapons,” Lavrov said in an interview with TV host Charlie Rose.

The Iranian leader’s words, however, could arguably be the first sensible comment he has made following a series of provocative remarks during his speech at the General Assembly.

Earlier, however, it was both Obama and Ahmadinejad who shook the UN’s 65th General Assembly, each in their own way – Obama by being late and Ahmadinejad by his emotional speech on the “inefficiency of capitalism”.

In accordance with the established order, at a UN political debate the American president makes a speech after the UN Secretary General, chairman of the current session and the Brazilian representative.

After the US president, speakers have the floor in accordance with the list agreed during preparation for the assembly.

Barack Obama was late by approximately an hour.

The speech by the denizen of the White House, when he finally arrived, was dedicated to the US economy, the country’s foreign policy, Middle-East conflict settlement and nuclear non-proliferation. Touching on this issue, Obama said that the US seeks a diplomatic resolution to “differences with Iran.”

The US president’s Iranian counterpart, who took the floor later, only nibbled at the Iranian nuclear program issue, saying that “some of the permanent members of the Security Council and nuclear bomb holders” have distanced the “clean and cheap and a heavenly gift”, nuclear energy, from the reach of most nations by “establishing monopolies and pressuring the IAEA, while at the same time they have continued to maintain, expand and upgrade their own nuclear arsenals.”

Upon that topic, he focused on “the inefficiency of the capitalism and the existing world management” and on the versions of who could have been responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

He mentioned such versions as “a very powerful and complex terrorist group, able to successfully cross all layers of the American intelligence and security”, “some segments within the US government which orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East,” adding that “the majority of the American people, as well as other nations and politicians, agree with this view”, and thirdly, “a terrorist group – but the American government supported and took advantage of the situation.”

Ahmadinejad proposed that a thorough investigation should have been conducted by independent groups “to conclusively identify the elements involved in the attack.“

During Ahmadinejad’s speech, the US delegation left the assembly hall, which is becoming something of a tradition. It usually happened before when the Iranian president was criticizing Israel.

This time, the four American diplomats were followed by some of their European colleagues.

President Barack Obama responded to Ahmadinejad’s speech a day later by calling his comments unjust and hateful.

“It was offensive. It was hateful. And particularly for him to make this statement here, in Manhattan, just a little north of Ground Zero, where families lost their loved ones, people of all faiths, all ethnicities… for him to make that statement was inexcusable,” Obama said.