Iran: No nuke talks before election

Ahmadinejad tells reporters Obama agreed to delay negotiations until after Iranian elections on June 12.

Ahmadinejad hand on eyes 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Ahmadinejad hand on eyes 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Talks on the Iranian nuclear program will have to wait until after the country's presidential elections on June 12, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday. Speaking at a press conference in Teheran, Ahmadinejad said: "We said that we won't hold any talks [on the matter] before the elections, they're insisting on starting before the elections." He went on to claim that US President Barack Obama had "called a number of times, and also agreed to wait with the talks until after the elections." On Thursday, Ahmadinejad criticized as "disgraceful" a 2003 deal his predecessor reached with Europe to freeze the country's nuclear program, saying his own decision to stand up to the West had restored Iran's dignity. Ahmadinejad has been touting Iran's nuclear achievements ahead of the June presidential election, hoping to offset criticism from his opponents that he has spent too much time slamming the West and not enough focused on the country's faltering economy. The administration of former president Muhammad Khatami, a reformist who favors improving ties with the West, struck a deal with Britain, France and Germany in October 2003 to suspend Iran's uranium enrichment program and give the UN nuclear watchdog unrestricted access to the country's nuclear facilities. The deal, which was signed at Sa'adabad Palace in Teheran, was aimed at easing Western fears that Iran was seeking to build nuclear weapons - a charge Teheran has denied. AP contributed to this report.