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Iran FM: US Must Change Policy to Improve Ties

Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. (Elsa Ruiz/Asia Society)
by Stephanie Valera
2 October 2008

NEW YORK, October 2, 2008 – Islamic Republic of Iran Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki
called upon the United States to accept the peaceful nature of his
country’s nuclear program and invited the next American administration
to try a new approach to the nations’ troubled relationship.

In a breakfast conversation at the Asia Society, Mr. Mottaki
reiterated that “all of Iran’s political and religious leaders have
announced time and again…that WMDs have no place in our doctrine. To be
more specific, atomic bombs have no place in our defensive doctrine.”

He further reinforced Iran’s position that it had answered questions
posed by the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA)
satisfactorily. He characterized the more recent round of questions
posed by the IAEA as “baseless” allegations generated by the US.

Even so, Iran views the Bush administration’s decision to send
Under-Secretary of State William Burns to last July’s negotiations as a
step in the right direction. Given sufficient political will, Mr.
Mottaki believes that "continued negotiations will reach an agreed
point and then, an agreed action.”

When asked if a new American president presented an opportunity for
Iran-US dialogue, Mr. Mottaki responded that the incoming
administration needs to follow a new approach: "Whatever candidate
becomes the next president of the US, he will have no other option than
to bring about new developments in American foreign policy [and he will
have to try to] reach out to other countries around the world,
including the countries in the Middle East."

The conversation was moderated by Ambassador Frank G. Wisner, Vice Chairman, External Affairs, American International Group.

Reported by Michelle Nellett