Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday that he does not expect talks next month with six world powers in Moscow on Iran’s nuclear programme to yield any major breakthroughs. “We are not fools. We are not expecting miracles at the next meeting,” Ahmadinejad said in an interview with France 24. “There will be areas of work that will go in the right direction and we will work towards them so that we reach a constructive accord.”
Ahmadinejad also reiterated Iran’s “legal right” to enrich uranium to 20 per cent and said other countries would have to explain why Iran was not allowed to do this, and what they would offer Iran in exchange if it stopped enriching uranium.
When asked if Tehran would accept an offer under which other countries would enrich its uranium if it suspended its nuclear programme, Ahmadinejad said he was open to it. “That offer has not been made, but it would ease the situation and would help build trust,” he said.
The P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – failed to persuade Tehran on 23 May to halt its nuclear programme, but are meeting again in Moscow on 18 to 19 June in an attempt to end a stand-off that has raised fears of a new war in the region.
On Syria, Ahmadinejad told France 24 that Western governments should not interfere with events there. “We know that [those governments] have their own interests and are against Syrian President Bashar Assad. We cannot trust them because their goal is to push him out of power,” he said. He denied sending any weapons to Syria in violation of sanctions, despite reports Sunday from General Ismail Qa’ani, deputy-commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, that Tehran had sent troops to aid Syrian President Bashar Assad’s crackdown on anti-regime protests.