Washington: Iran is willing to hold talks
with the international community on its contentious nuclear
programme if it is "based on principles of justice and
respect" and "within the legal framework", President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad said on Sunday.
Ahmadinejad also blamed the US for pressing the global
nuclear watchdog to take political position on the nuclear
row, which was making the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) "worthless and ineffective".
"We have a plan to discuss things, to discuss issues.
We`ve always been ready to discuss issues as long as they`re
within the legal framework and based on principles of justice
and respect," he told the ABC news in an interview.
The last high-level meeting between Iran and the six
world powers was held in Geneva in October 2009 when the two
sides agreed a nuclear fuel swap deal that has since stalled.
The Iranian leader said its nuclear activities "are
being controlled by cameras". "Material that is moved is
weighed, it`s examined and controlled. So as far as the IAEA
supervision is concern, there`s no blockage of that
supervision," he said.
He blamed the IAEA for released its "nuclear
information", describing it as "illegal".
"The IAEA is required by a statute to protect that
information, not to release it. And plus, the IAEA is aware of
several other violations that they have permitted,"
Ahmadinejad said after arriving in New York for the United
Nations General Assembly.
"We believe that here the United States is pressing
the IAEA to take a political position on the issue. Once the
IAEA does that, its worth becomes worthless and ineffective,"
When asked about the recent statement by former
Iranian President Rafsanjani, who urged him not to take the
sanctions as a joke, Ahmadinejad said: "In Iran, people are
free to make statements, say what they think. There are no
restrictions on what people say.
"We do take sanctions seriously, but taking it
seriously is different from believing that they are effective.
These are two different issues," he noted.
"We consider this and have recorded it as a serious
violation of international law. It was illegal. It was wrong.
It wronged the people of Iran by insulting them, and these
sanctions will definitively mark a new level of progress in
our economy," Ahmadinejad asserted, adding "We have turned
sanctions around and created opportunities out of this.
Pushed further on the crippling effect of the
sanctions on Iran`s economy, Ahmadinejad was defiant, saying
it had no negative influence.
Now, this doesn`t mean, certainly, that we take it
seriously, but it does not mean that it has a negative
influence on our economy, because it does not, he said,
adding that there is no impact on sanctions.
"None of this is a problem. I want to stress, it is
not a problem. If you want to say it`s effective, why not wait
for the next six months or a year to see with your own eyes
whether there are effects or not? And I tell you there are
none," the president underlined.
He said Iran was always ready for talks and was the
"first to send a letter of invitation US President Barack
Obama, who had "never responded to the letter"
"I was the one who started the invitation. I was the
first to send a letter of invitation (to Obama), and he never
responded to the letter. I announced in the United Nations
that we are ready to talk in the UN in the presence of others.
I didn`t receive an answer, Ahmadinejad said.
He said while Iran freed the 32-year-old US national
Sarah Shourd after holding her and fellow hikers Shane Bauer
and Josh Fattal for more than a year, he was yet to receive
even a note from Washington.
All three were arrested on July 31, 2009 after
straying into Iran from Iraq. The authorities had charged them
with "spying and illegally entering the country."
Ahmadinejad said Iran was "always prepared to talk,
but under fair conditions and respectful conditions".
"If somebody thinks that they can, like, order us
around or rule us and talk -- call it a talk, that wouldn`t
work. But if they are ready to sit down, respect the law, be
fair and just, we`re always prepared to talk," he underlined.