Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (centre) greets supporters during a rally in Tehran's Azadi Square to mark the 34th anniversary of the Islamic revolution on February 10.
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (centre) greets supporters during a rally in Tehran's Azadi Square to mark the 34th anniversary of the Islamic revolution on February 10.

US must change before Iran will enter direct nuclear talks, says Ahmadinejad

Iranian president says Americans must stop 'pointing weapons' as it prepares to resume stalled talks with the P5+1 group of six world powers.

TEHRAN // The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, yesterday said the United States must change its attitude if it wanted to hold direct talks with his country about its nuclear programme, as he hit out at Washington for imposing sanctions on Tehran.

His comments, in a speech marking the 34th anniversary of the Islamic revolution that ousted the shah in 1979, came just days after Iran's supreme leader rejected a call for direct talks from the US vice president, Joe Biden.

They also come at a time when Tehran and six leading world powers - the so-called P5+1: the US, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany - prepare to resume stalled talks about Iran's nuclear programme. They are scheduled to begin in the Kazakh city of Almaty on February 26.

"The change of tone is necessary but not sufficient," Mr Ahmadinejad said at Tehran's landmark Azadi (Freedom) Square amid chants of "Death to America".

"Stop pointing weapons at the Iranian nation and I will myself negotiate with you," he added. "Talks should be with respect, fairness and not under pressure.

"You have done everything to prevent us from becoming nuclear and you have failed. The best solution is cooperation and understanding."

Last week, Mr Biden made a "serious offer" for direct talks within the framework of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 countries ovr Tehran's nuclear programme, which world powers suspect is aimed at making atomic weapons.Iran vehemently denies this, insisting it is for peaceful use only.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all national issues, rejected Mr Biden's offer outright.

"I am not a diplomat but a revolutionary and I speak frankly," he said on Thursday. "You (Americans) are pointing the gun at Iran and say either negotiate or we will shoot."

Yesterday, Mr Ahmadinejad called on Iranians to remain united behind Mr Khamenei, reiterating that "the Iranian nation will not give up an inch of its legitimate rights".

Tehran is currently under a series of international and western sanctions aimed at curbing its nuclear ambitions, mainly the process of uranium enrichment.

* Agence France-Presse

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National