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Ahmadinejad: ‘I’m ready for direct talks with US if pressure stops’

Published time: February 10, 2013 17:34
Edited time: February 10, 2013 21:35
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivers a speech during a rally in Tehran's Azadi Square (Freedom Square) to mark the 34th anniversary of the Islamic revolution on February 10, 2013 (AFP Photo / Behrouz Mehri)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivers a speech during a rally in Tehran's Azadi Square (Freedom Square) to mark the 34th anniversary of the Islamic revolution on February 10, 2013 (AFP Photo / Behrouz Mehri)

Iran’s president has said he is ready for directs talks with the US if the West stops pressuring his country. His comments directly contradict the words of the Supreme leader of Iran who rejected the US proposal of direct negotiations.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made his statement at a rally to mark the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

“You pull away the gun from the face of the Iranian nation, I myself will enter the talks with you,” he said.

His statement is in stark contrast to the words of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme leader of Iran, who has the final say on all key decisions, who said earlier this week that talking to the US would not solve any problems.

“Some naïve people like the idea of negotiating with America, however, negotiations will not solve the problems,” said Khamenei, who then accused the US of “holding a gun against Iran and saying you want to talk”.

The Ayotallah’s words follow an invitation by vice president Joe Biden to hold bilateral talks between Washington and Tehran.

The West and Israel suspect Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, while Iran denies these claims and insists its nuclear program is purely for civilian purposes.

In an historic visit to Cairo last Wednesday, Ahmadinejad reiterated Tehran’s claim that Iran’s goals are purely defensive.

“[Israel] wants to attack Iran, but we’re not preparing any attack against them because the purpose of our program is purely defense,” he said in an interview with Al-Ahram newspaper, before leaving for Egypt.

While in Egypt, his first visit to the country in three decades, he said that the world should cooperate with Iran.

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