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Iranian President Says Tehran Willing To Hold Nuclear Talks


A one-day summit of eight majority Muslim nations has ended with a statement of support for the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The statement was warmly welcomed by one of the Muslim leaders at the summit, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

President Ahmadinejad, seemingly emboldened by the Bali declaration, thanked fellow D-8 member nations for their support.

"I would like to take this chance to thank member states of the D-8 for committing themselves to defend the peaceful use and the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, which has been enshrined in the Bali declaration," he said.

The Bali declaration agreed members should cooperate to develop alternative energy sources, including the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The United States and its European allies are seeking to halt Iran's uranium enrichment program, which they say is being used to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who took over the rotating leadership of the D-8 Saturday from Mr. Ahmadinejad, says the Iranian leader is willing to talk with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"In my conversation with president Ahmadinejad he is willing actually to continue his talks with the IAEA, to continue diplomatic talks, of course with the hope that everybody has a genuine attitude and is really serious in finding a just, peaceful, and proper solution," he said.

At a news conference at the end of the D-8 conference, the Iranian leader railed against what he called "bully nations," and defended Iran's right to develop its nuclear program.

"We believe that every nation of the world has the right to make peaceful use of nuclear energy," he added.

He said Iran is ready to talk about its nuclear program, but it will not do so under the threat of force.

Though Iran's troubles with the West largely overshadowed the Saturday summit, the summit's original purpose was to focus on trade and development issues, and the countries did reach agreements on trade and customs, and discussed development issues affecting their nations.

Aside from Indonesia and Iran, the D-8 groups together Malaysia, Pakistan, Turkey, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Egypt.