Monday, July 14, 2008

Ahmadinejad favors opening of U.S. Consulate in Tehran

Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2008 00:07:08 +0200
Contact: Hossein Bastani,

Only three weeks after Ahmadinejad and his administration spokesperson claimed that ‎American forces intended to “kidnap or assassinate him in Iraq,” Ahmadinejad identified ‎the perpetrators of his accusation as “Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghan or American.” But that ‎was not Ahmadinejad’s only strange remark in yesterday’s press conference, because he ‎also welcomed the reopening of the U.S. Consulate Office in Iran and insisted that Ali ‎Akbar Velayati, the supreme leader’s foreign policy advisor has no say on the nuclear ‎issue. ‎

The head of Iran’s ninth administration also indicated that his potential kidnappers ‎chanted “anti-American and anti-Iranian” slogans while carrying out their operation. ‎Previously, Ahmadinejad had claimed that “enemies planned to kidnap or assassinate ‎him” in a gathering with a number of clerics from the Qom Seminary School Teachers’ ‎Association, adding, “By changing one or two plans their operation was disrupted, and ‎they only realized that after we had left Iraq.” ‎

Supreme Leader’s Advisor is not Involved ‎

In yesterday’s press conference, in addition to introducing new claims in connection with ‎his previous kidnap and assassination plot, Ahmadinejad also responded to a question ‎about the recent article of Ali Akbar Velayati, Ayatollah Khamenei’s foreign policy ‎advisor, which received much worldwide attention. Ahmadinejad’s response was ‎unprecedented in its kind. ‎

Former foreign minister Velayati’s article was originally published in three European ‎newspapers simultaneously, and was considered in democratic circles as the Iranian ‎supreme leader’s decision to take full charge of the nuclear case and diffuse the crisis in a ‎new way; especially since Velayati is his especial advisor in foreign affairs. ‎

Ahmadinejad, however, had this to say about Velayati’s recent remarks: “Mr Velayati is ‎an esteemed person. He has opinions and he states them. Everyone in the Islamic ‎Republic of Iran is free to state their opinion. However, he is not involved in making ‎decisions in the nuclear case.” ‎

Also, commenting on positive interpretations of Iran’s recent position with regarding ‎talks with the 5+1 Group (five UN Security Council members and Germany), ‎Ahmadinejad said, “Some people wanted to organize a celebration and say that Iran had ‎stepped back but their celebration did not last long.” ‎

Verbally Welcoming Relations with America?‎

Nevertheless, despite his prior stance with respect to Velayati, Ahmadinejad did not ‎oppose America’s presence in nuclear negotiations with Iran, adding, “If the Americans ‎want to come too, they should come. We would not invite them… If America wants to ‎enter negotiations, it must not set preconditions.” ‎

Responding to another question about the ninth administration’s invitation of Houshang ‎Amirahmadi to visit Iran, Ahmadinejad strongly denied secret attempts to establish ‎relations with the United States, adding, “Iran does not need mediators to negotiate with ‎America. Whenever is becomes necessary, we will negotiate with them directly… If it is ‎necessary that we negotiate with the United States, and it is to the benefit of the Iranian ‎nation, I will come myself and say that we will negotiate because it benefits the Iranian ‎nation.” ‎

In an unexpected move, Ahmadinejad welcomed the idea to “reopen America’s interest ‎section in Tehran,” while at the same time denying receipt of any official offer in this ‎respect: “Iran will consider the United States’ request to reopen that country’s interest ‎section in Tehran and favors any action that would result in enhanced ties between ‎nations of the world.” ‎