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Asia-pacific

Ahmadinejad 'open to dialogue' with US

©

Video by Christopher MOORE

Latest update : 2009-02-10

Iran is open to dialogue with the US provided talks are based on mutual respect, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said as Tehran marks the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution that toppled the US-backed Shah.

AFP - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that Tehran is ready for dialogue with the United States as long as there is a climate of mutual respect.
   
"It is clear that the change must be fundamental and not tactical," Ahmadinejad said in a speech marking the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution broadcast live on state television.
   
"The Iranian nation will welcome true changes and is ready for dialogue in a climate of equality and mutual respect."
   

Ahmadinejad's comments came a day after new US President Barack Obama renewed his call for direct US dialogue with the Islamic republic after 30 years of severed ties.
   
"I think there's the possibility, at least, of a relationship of mutual respect and progress," Obama said, but "it's time now for Iran to send some signals that it wants to act differently."
   
Obama said his administration was looking for a new approach despite concerns over Iran's nuclear ambitions, support for Hamas and Hezbollah and bellicose remarks aimed at Israel.
   
"The world does not want the dark era of (former US president George W. Bush) to be repeated," Ahmadinejad said. "If some people seek to repeat that experience... they should know they will face a much worse fate than Bush's."
   
During his presidency, Bush famously described Iran as part of an "axis of evil" along with Saddam Hussein's Iraq and North Korea, while Iranian leaders frequently refer to the United States as the "Great Satan."
   
The West suspects Iran of secretly trying to build an atomic bomb and fears the technology used to launch a space rocket could be diverted to developing long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
   
Tehran has been slapped with a series of UN sanctions over its refusal to suspend sensitive nuclear work but it insists its nuclear programme is for purely peaceful means.
   
"The threats against the Iranian people have been now removed with their resistance and help of God," Ahmadinejad said.
   
"I officially announce that Iran today is a real and true super power," the president said, referring to the country's "scientific achievements" over the past few years.
   
Iran on Tuesday celebrated 30 years of the Islamic revolution that toppled the US-backed shah, showcasing a replica of its first domestically-built satellite, Omid (Hope) it launched on February 2.
   
Ties between the United States and Iran were severed in the wake of the revolution when Islamist students held diplomats hostage at the US embassy in Tehran for 444 days.

Date created : 2009-02-10

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