Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday his nation is willing to shut down its nuclear enrichment program in order to hold talks, but first the West must do likewise: “We say how is it that your [nuclear fuel] production facilities work 24 hours a day, but you feel threatened by our newly established complex and we need to shut it down for talks?”
Ahmadinejad told a crowd of thousands in northern Iran one day ahead of a
U.N. Security Council deadline that it was no problem for his country to stop, but that “fair talks” demanded a similar gesture from the West.
“That ... we shut down our nuclear fuel cycle program to let talks begin. It’s no problem. But justice demands that those who want to hold talks with us shut down their nuclear fuel cycle program too. Then, we can hold dialogue under a fair atmosphere,” Ahmadinejad said.
The Security Council has set Wednesday as a deadline for Iran to stop uranium enrichment or face further economic sanctions.
Ahmadinejad spoke in a far more conciliatory tone than the one he usually adopts, avoiding fiery denunciations of the West with a call for talks.