New Iranian Proposal Aims to End Nuclear Dispute
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told an audience in the town of Kerman that Tehran is preparing a new package of proposals for the West, aimed at resolving a lengthy international dispute over its nuclear program.
Supporters cheered and waved flags as Mr. Ahmadinejad addressed the open-air crowd in Kerman.
Iranian TV showed Mr. Ahmadinejad being swarmed by supporters trying to shake his hand as his motorcade made its way into the city before he spoke.
The Iranian president said he had prepared a "package" of proposals.
Package will be ready 'soon'
He says the package can be used as a basis to solve the nuclear problem. It will be offered to the West, soon, and it will ensure peace and justice for the world. He adds that it respects the rights of all nations.
Mr. Ahmadinejad also declared that "no outside power can impose its will on Iran," and that "no country in the world ... would dare to wage war on Iran."
The United States, Russia, France, Britain, Germany and China asked European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, last week, to invite Iran to round-table talks to "find a diplomatic solution" to the lengthy dispute over its nuclear program.
No concessions on nuclear program
Iran has insisted, repeatedly, that it is not prepared make concessions in its nuclear program, and had refused to stop enriching uranium, claiming that it was for civilian purposes. The United States suspects Iran is working on a military nuclear arsenal, as well.
Tehran has tried to put a more positive tone to its dealings with the West, in response to recent initiatives by President Barack Obama to resume dialogue with Tehran.
Iran expert Meir Javedanfar of the Middle East Economic and Political Analysis Center in Tel Aviv thinks that Mr. Ahmadinejad appears to be waging a public relations war with the United States as well as trying to win Iran's upcoming presidential elections in June.
"I think that the Iranian government is trying to show that it is willing to match Obama's offer of talks, but it wants the talks to be on its terms. It does not want to wait for Obama to start the talks and to carry them out on American terms. Also, I think there is an electioneering angle to this. President Ahmadinejad is doing this to promote himself as a man who is willing to engage Iran's enemies, and he is not somebody who is following hardline policies, and he is hoping to win some votes in the main cities from that," said Javedanfar.
Has Tehran isolated itself?
Javedanfar also thinks Iran has become isolated, as the recent tempest between Hezbollah, Tehran and Egypt over arms smuggling reveals, and this is a way to improve its image abroad.
He also speculates Iran may be preparing a proposal to declare the entire Middle East a nuclear-free zone, something he says would put the United States and ally Israel in an uncomfortable position.