Ahmadinejad sees chance for "common ground"
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday he sees a chance for "common ground" in resolving the dispute with the West over the Islamic state's nuclear activities, dpa reported.
Ahmadinejad said on NBC television the United States has exhibited "new behavior" in its approach toward his country that could be an opportunity for better relations.
"My question is, is such behavior rooted in a new approach, in other words mutual respect, cooperation and justice?," Ahmadinejad said on the US broadcaster. Or is this approach "a continuation in the confrontation with the Iranian people, but in a new guise?"
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana has given the Iranian government until Saturday to respond to a package of economic and diplomatic incentives backed by the United States in return for an Iranian pledge to halt uranium enrichment.
Ahmadinejad said Iran has submitted its own proposal and there was a chance to reach an agreement through negotiations.
"It's very natural in the first steps we are going to negotiate over the common ground as they exist inside the two packages. If the two parties succeed in agreeing over the common ground, that will help us to work on our differences as well, to reach an agreement," he said.
Solana led a delegation representing the five permanent members of the Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - plus Germany at a meeting with the Iranians July 19 in Geneva.
Iran did not respond to the incentives package but Solana agreed to give Tehran more time. Iran so far has refused to comply with UN Security Council demands it stop uranium enrichment, a process that can be used to develop nuclear weapons.
Iran insists it is enriching uranium solely for producing energy.