West still untrustworthy over Iran talks: Ahmadinejad

Last Updated: Saturday, October 31, 2009 - 16:27

Tehran: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday it is still difficult for Iran to trust Western powers when it comes to negotiations, but he hopes the nuclear dialogue between the two will continue.
His comments came as the White House warned that US President Barack Obama will not wait for ever for Tehran`s response to a UN-drafted deal to supply Iran with nuclear fuel in exchange for its low-enriched uranium (LEU).

Meanwhile an influential senior Iranian lawmaker said that he was against the UN-drafted deal, raising further possibility that Tehran could disagree to the proposed offer.

Ahmadinejad also said Iran`s arch-foe Israel is unhappy with the ongoing talks with the world powers over the Islamic republic`s nuclear programme.

Iran and six world powers are separately engaged in a dialogue over allaying Western concerns about Iran`s nuclear programme, which it suspects is aimed at making weapons -- a charge strongly denied by Iran.

"The best way for you is to respect the Iranian nation and cooperate honestly with this nation," the official IRNA news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying on Saturday at a function in northeastern Iran.

He added Tehran will give a "constructive, generous and positive response" if world powers extend an "honest hand" towards it, but the Islamic republic will unleash its "revolutionary fury" if that hand is of "hypocrisy”.

Ahmadinejad said Iran approaches the talks with Western powers with a sense of distrust, because of what he called their past "negative record”.

"We hope the negotiations continue and evil powers don`t indulge in mischief because the Zionist regime and other domineering powers are unhappy with the talks," ISNA news agency quoted him as telling a local television channel in the northeast late on Friday.

On Thursday, he said that "conditions were ready" for nuclear cooperation between Iran and world powers.

Western powers are awaiting a clear response from Tehran over the nuclear fuel deal brokered by UN atomic watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

France has said the deal aims to ship out 1,200 kilos of Iran`s LEU -- enriched at a facility in Natanz in defiance of three sets of UN sanctions -- for further higher processing abroad and converting into fuel for a Tehran research reactor.

Western powers are backing the deal as the Tehran reactor is an internationally supervised facility.

The deal is a aimed at removing from the country Tehran`s stock of LEU, a major concern in the West which suspects the enriched material could be further enriched for use in nuclear weapons.

Israel, which maintains that world powers must keep all options on table to halt Tehran`s nuclear drive, including a military strike, has also backed the UN-drafted deal.

The Jewish state is the Middle East`s sole -- if undeclared -- nuclear-armed power.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday called the deal "a positive first step," as it supports efforts "to unite the international community to address the challenge of Iran`s attempts to become a nuclear military power."

The IAEA has confirmed that Tehran has given an "initial" response to the deal, but late on Friday IRNA reported saying Iran`s response was "not an answer" to the deal and that it wanted more talks.

On Friday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs warned that Obama will not wait for ever for a formal reply from Iran to the deal.

"The president`s time is not unlimited, this was not about talking for the sake of talking, this was about reaching an agreement that just a few weeks ago seemed to be something that the Iranians wanted," he said.

But Ahmadinejad said Iran still distrusts Western powers.

"The government, like all Iranian people, looks at the negotiations with no trust, given the negative record of Western powers, but realities make them interact with Iranian people," he said.

His views were echoed by influential lawmaker Alaeddin Borujerdi who also opposes sending LEU abroad.

"We are completely against the offer... I think the best option is to buy the necessary fuel for the Tehran reactor as before," Borujerdi, who heads parliament`s committee on national security and foreign policy told ISNA.

Citing the example of Iran`s Bushehr nuclear plant, Borujerdi said Iran "widely distrusts Westerners" who "did not fulfill their contracts with Iran."

The Bushehr facility, being built by Moscow, was begun in 1970s, but has still not gone on stream.

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First Published: Saturday, October 31, 2009 - 16:27

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