Iran seeks 'common ground' with West

Ahmadinejad tells NBC Teheran is not seeking nuclear arms and that such weapons are outdated.

ahmadinejad nuclear 224  (photo credit: AP)
ahmadinejad nuclear 224
(photo credit: AP)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday that Iran would seek common ground with the United States and five other world powers that have proposed incentives for Teheran to freeze its nuclear enrichment program. Speaking to NBC News less than a week before a deadline for its response to the incentives package, Ahmadinejad said progress would depend on the sincerity of the apparent US shift in its approach to Teheran. After meeting Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalilin in Geneva on July 19, Western officials said that Teheran had two weeks to respond to an offer of holding off on further UN sanctions if Iran freezes its nuclear program. The two-week deadline expires on Saturday. "They submitted a package and we responded by submitting our own package," Ahmadinejad said. "It's very natural. In the first steps, we are going to negotiate over the common ground as they exist inside the two packages. If the two parties succeed in agreeing over the common ground, that will help us to work on our differences as well, to reach an agreement." Ahmadinejad reportedly said he believes the oil market is overvalued in part because of manipulation. NBC also quoted Ahmadinejad as saying Iran was not seeking nuclear arms and that such weapons were outdated. Iran has said it would not freeze enrichment to start preliminary talks nor would it suspend enrichment to start formal negotiations on the incentives package offered by the six powers - the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. In a policy shift, a US diplomat attended the Geneva talks, which the Islamic Republic has characterized as a success for Teheran. On Monday, Ahmadinejad told NBC: "The main question here is whether this approach is a continuation of the old approach or if it is a totally new approach. "If this is the continuation of the old process, the Iranian people need to defend their right, its interests as well," he said. "But if the approach changes, we will be facing a new situation and the response by the Iranian people will be a positive one."