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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran's president says ready for talks with U.S. leader

RIA Novosti

24/04/2007 12:00 MOSCOW, April 24 (RIA Novosti) - The president of Iran, at the center of international concerns over its nuclear ambitions, has said he was ready to meet with U.S. President George W. Bush, the Al-Alam channel said Tuesday.

"Last year, before traveling to the UN, I said I was ready to take part in debates on international issues along with Mr. Bush," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said. "Now I am saying I am ready to hold talks with him on bilateral, regional and international issues on condition the media is allowed to attend."

Ahmadinejad explained his demand by "peoples' right to accurate information" on the problems discussed.

On Monday, the outspoken leader said the United States had broken off relations with the Islamic Republic unilaterally over 20 years ago, but there were currently no obstacles to rebuilding them.

"We have no problems with establishing relations with the Americans, but they do have problems. Their behavior is wrong. The Americans do not recognize the right of other nations and are striving to build their relations with others from a position of force," he said.

Iran is under UN Security Council sanctions over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment the U.S. and some other countries fear could be used in weapons production. Washington has refused to rule out strikes on the defiant nation's nuclear facilities as a way to ensure the non-proliferation regime.

Tehran, which insists its nuclear program is purely civilian and is fully legitimate, has refused to heed international concerns, and announced in April it had started the industrial-scale production of nuclear fuel.

Ahmadinejad reiterated Monday that Iran was willing to address the nuclear issue through negotiations, but would not renounce its right to pursue peaceful nuclear programs.

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