TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he is ready to have direct talks with United States if the West stops pressuring his country.
His Sunday statements to a rally marking the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution come after Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all key decisions, effectively closed the door on direct talks with Washington as long as sanctions and other pressures remain.
“You pull away the gun from the face of the Iranian nation, I myself will enter the talks with you,” Ahmadinejad said. The declaration appears part of Ahmadinejad’s attempt to retain the appearance of political relevance going into his final months of office The West suspects Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons and has imposed sanctions. Iran denies the charge.