December 12, 2007
TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iran's former nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani here Wednesday described Iran-US differences as strategic, stressing that the problems of the two arch foes may not be resolved simply through sending signals.
Addressing a students meeting at Ferdowsi University in Iran's northeastern city of Mashhad, the former secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) further underlined that the world countries should learn to accept peaceful coexistence as an established principles.
Larijani, who is now representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei at SNSC, reminded that the recent report by 16 US intelligence services contained only a few positive signals, "while it comprised certain negative elements as well".
"The report had two faces, one which reinvigorated Iran's stance and another one which was covert and mischievous," he said.
"Firstly, the report announced that Iran does not have an atomic bomb and that Iran had halted a nuclear weapons program in 2003, which was a victory for Iran. But the point that Iran was seeking to obtain atomic weapons before 2003 is a mere lie and fully baseless," Larijani added.
"The differences between Iran and the US are based on a series of strategic issues and are unlikely to be solved through sending a few signals and making tactical moves," he said.
Larijani's remarks followed a green light by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday that if the US takes one or two more steps, similar to its National Intelligence Estimate, the way would be opened for the resumption of interactions between the two arch foes at loggerheads with each other for almost three decades.
"It is a positive step, a step forward," Ahmadinejad told a news conference here yesterday, referring to the latest NIE report.
"If one or two other steps are taken, the conditions will be ripe and will lose their complexities, and the way will be open for interactions between the two sides," he said.
Meantime, he reaffirmed the rejection by other Iranian officials of the US report's assertion that Tehran had been working to develop a nuclear program before 2003.
"We do not say that in the report there is no problem and there is no imprecision or error. We welcomed the report as a whole and as a step forward. A part of the report approved the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear activities. There was, of course, another part which made some references to the past and if the US intelligence community conducts a more precise study, it will confirm the views of Iran," Ahmadinejad said.
The latest US intelligence assessment on Iran says Tehran is pursuing a peaceful nuclear program. The US National Intelligence Estimate was in stark contrast to a 2005 estimate that said Tehran was developing a nuclear weapons program.
Asked what further steps the United States could take, Ahmadinejad said, "Let us not get into a hurry. Let them (the Americans) follow and fix the step they have taken. Our addressee understands our words.
"A second step could be on the nuclear issue. They (Americans) could say that the issue has been finished."
"One of the steps that need to be taken is a major change in their regional position. They need to respect the rights of the countries in the region. Regional nations have rights and want to fully use their rights. Respecting these rights is a serious change in strategy. This is the next step. If this happens, you will be able to see the results," he said.
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