/ 25 May 2009

Ahmadinejad rejects Western nuclear proposal

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejected on Monday a ”freeze-for-freeze” proposal put forward by the West in a bid to resolve a row over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear aims.

”Our talks [with major powers] will only be in the framework of cooperation for managing global issues and nothing else. We have clearly announced this,” he said when asked about the so-called ”freeze-for-freeze” proposal.

”The nuclear issue is a finished issue for us,” Ahmadinejad told a news conference.

The West first made the proposal to Iran last year demanding it to freeze expansion of its nuclear programme in return for the United Nations Security Council halting further sanction measures. Western diplomats say it remains on the table.

”We will not allow anyone to negotiate with us outside the agency’s regulations and issues,” Ahmadinejad said, referring to the UN International Atomic Energy Agency. ”Our activities will only be in the framework of the agency’s regulations.”

The United States and its allies suspect the Islamic state is seeking to build nuclear bombs, a charge Tehran denies. US President Barack Obama has offered a new beginning of diplomatic engagement with Iran if it ”unclenches its fist”.

Asked about North Korea’s nuclear test on Monday, Ahmadinejad said: ”In principle we oppose the production, expansion and the use of weapons of mass destruction.”

Ahmadinejad also proposed a debate with Obama at UN headquarters in New York, ”regarding the roots of world problems”. – Reuters