Ahmadinejad: We favor talks with West

Iranian president says he'll soon give an official response to P5+1 offer of dialogue on nuclear issue.

ahmadinejad and co 248 88 ap (photo credit: AP)
ahmadinejad and co 248 88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Friday that the country favored dialogue with the West over the Islamic republic's nuclear program and that he would soon give an official response to an offer of negotiations by the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany. "We are leaning toward dialogue," Ahmadinejad told the Iranian news agency, IRNA, in remarks quoted by Army Radio. Also Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was quoted as saying that Teheran could respond positively to US overtures for dialogue if Washington turns the new proposals into reality. "We are studying the comments of the US government precisely and with respect," Mottaki told the Japanese Yomiuri newspaper. "If the Obama administration turns its expressions of change into reality, there can also be change on our side." Although he praised US President Barack Obama's vision of a nuclear arms-free world, Mottaki added that every country reserved the right to nuclear power. Mottaki gave the interview in Tokyo, where he was set to attend a meeting of Pakistan's donors. On Wednesday, top US and European diplomats met in Washington to plan strategy on Iran's nuclear program, hours after Ahmadinejad indicated he was willing to build a new relationship with America. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana met for talks on Iran soon after Ahmadinejad said he was open to finding new ways to deal with the United States. The Iranian leader announced that he was preparing new proposals aimed at breaking the impasse with the West over his country's nuclear program. In a speech before an audience of thousands in the southeastern Iranian city of Kerman, Ahmadinejad said "circumstances have changed" for the prospects of engagement with the United States and over the nuclear issue.