Ahmadinejad at UN
Photo: Reuters

Ahmadinejad: Nuke plan has medical purposes

Iranian president meets with US newspaper editors, says his country's disputed nuclear program is a 'humanitarian issue'

WASHINGTON – On the backdrop of his fiery UN General Assembly speech and the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program, the Iranian president says he wants to cure the world. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stated that he is willing to have Iranian nuclear experts meet with their American counterparts and experts from other countries involved in talks on the nuclear issue.


Ahmadinejad spoke Wednesday with editors and reporters of the Washington Post and Newsweek magazine. He said he would examine whether US President Barack Obama's intentions of hold a real dialogue are serious. "I think it is a very solid proposal which gives a good opportunity for a start," he said.


The Iranian president added that "these nuclear materials we are seeking to purchase are for medicinal purposes... It is a humanitarian issue."


According to the Washington Post, nuclear research reactors are used to create radioactive isotopes for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Ahmadinejad said in the interview that about 20 medical products are created at a reactor in Tehran but that more fuel is needed.


The Iranian president stated that the attention focused on his country's uranium enrichment was misplaced, because it is only for electricity and cannot be used for bombs.


"Don't you think it is hilarious to say that it is potentially dangerous for Iran to possess one nuclear warhead for the whole world, but that the fact that the United States possesses 10,000 of them poses no threat whatsoever?" he asked.


Meanwhile, the international efforts to pressure Iran to launch a significant dialogue on the nuclear issue continue. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has convened a meeting with the foreign ministers of France, the United Kingdom, Germany, China and Russia, in order to prepare for the October 1 meeting between the six world powers and a senior Iranian representative in Geneva.


French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Wednesday that major world powers should set a December deadline for talks with Iran to bear fruit before moving ahead with new sanctions.


"I would like to say to the Iranian leaders that, if they are relying on the passive response of the international community in order to pursue their military nuclear program, they are making a tragic mistake," Sarkozy said in his speech to the UN General Assembly.


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also appeared to move closer to backing new nuclear sanctions against Iran, saying such tactics were rarely productive but sometimes "inevitable."


"Sanctions rarely lead to productive results, but in some cases sanctions are inevitable," Medvedev said Wednesday, after the talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.


Reuters and AFP contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 09.24.09, 09:49
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