Iranian president Ahmadinejad says Iran “is the biggest victim of terrorism”

February 10, 2009

TEHRAN, Iran (ChattahBox) — Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday during a rally celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution that his country would welcome talks with its longtime adversary, the United States, if they are based on mutual respect. The announcement  comes a day after President Barack Obama said his administration was looking for opportunities to engage Iran and pledged to rethink United States’ relationship with Tehran.

The hard-line Iranian leader said terrorism, the elimination of nuclear weapons, restructuring the U.N. Security Council and fighting drug trafficking could be topics for the two sides to talk about.

“If you really want to fight terrorism, come and cooperate with the Iranian nation, which is the biggest victim of terrorism so that terrorism is eliminated. … If you want to confront nuclear weapons … you need to stand beside Iran so it can introduce a correct path to you,” he said.

Ahmadinejad said the world was at a “crossroads” because it had been proven that military power has not been successful – a reference to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The U.S. believes Iran is secretly trying to pursue nuclear weapons, but Iran has denied this accusation, saying its program is solely for peaceful purposes such as electricity.

In his speech, Ahmadinejad declared Iran a “superpower” and said threats against it had disappeared. He didn’t elaborate however.

“Today, I officially announce that the Iranian nation is a true and real superpower … I need to declare with a loud voice that … the shadow of threat has been removed forever from over the Iranian nation’s head,” he said.

Ahmadinejad also lauded Iranian achievements over the past three decades including the recent launch of the first domestically made satellite into orbit.

The launch also was a symbol of national pride to Iranians even as falling oil prices have battered the economy and Ahmadinejad’s popularity. On Sunday, former reformist President Mohammed Khatami announced he would run for president again and challenge Ahmadinejad, who is seeking a second term in the June vote.


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