Ahmadinejad Open to U.S. Talks, Denounces Threats
(My story about President Ahmadinejad's press conference at the United Nations, New York, IPS News Agency)
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 24 (IPS) - At a press conference following his speech to the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he would welcome discussions with the U.S. presidential candidates, but added that "the condition is that our meeting should be open so that all media know what happens."
Ahmadinejad's appearance in New York provoked a series of demonstrations against Iran's human rights record and by Jewish groups angry at his description of the Nazi Holocaust as a "myth".
In a fiery speech at the U.N., he maintained his harsh tone toward Israel, but welcomed opening a dialogue with the United States, if Washington backed off from its threat of military force.
While Democrat Barack Obama has said he would focus on sanctions and direct diplomacy with Tehran, neither he nor his Republican opponent, John McCain, are willing to take the military option "off the table".
Ahmadinejad stressed that the U.S. government unilaterally severed its relations with Iran in 1979. "We have always been in favour of relations with other countries. The U.S. government thought by cutting ties they can punish Iran and prevent the development of out nation, but we are now stronger and more developed than the past," he said. (Continue...)