Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran would be willing to enter into negotiations with the United Nations if the United States is willing to lighten its stance on his country obtaining nuclear capabilities.
Ahmadinejad made the comments just as Iran is marking the 34th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. It also came just days after the supreme leader Ali Khamenei rejected the possibility of engaging in direct talks with the U.S.
In his address, which was accompanied by “death to America” chants from the audience, the Iranian president said that he will negotiate with the United States directly if they “stop pointing weapons at the Iranian nation.” He also pointed out that talks should be done with fairness and respect without pressure.
Ahmadinejad’s response came just a week after Vice President Joe Biden offered Iran a seat in the negotiation table with the P5+1, which includes the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.
Khamenei, who has the final say and authority, chastised the U.S. and accused it of resorting to coercion tactics by threatening military action if Iran refuses to negotiate.
The U.S. currently has sanctions in place, which is aimed at curbing Iran’s uranium enrichment program. The sanctions have caused a severe economic crisis in Iran by limiting oil exports, which is the nation’s main source of revenue.
Ahmadinejad has vehemently denied that his country’s economic crisis is due to the sanctions though Iran’s Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi admitted that the sanctions have played a role in the economy’s downward spiral.
Western nations have also expressed concerns over Iran’s satellite program, which they fear could be used to develop long-range missiles. Iran regularly announces technological breakthroughs, which includes sending a monkey into space and bringing it back home safely. Such claims cannot be independently verified by the U.S.