Iran's president says his country is open to what he calls "new conditions" to resolve the standoff with the West over Iran's nuclear program.
Speaking to reporters in Dakar, Senegal, Thursday, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran wants to resolve the issue through dialogue, and is ready for new conditions. However, he did not elaborate on his remarks before boarding a flight to Cuba, where he will attend the Nonaligned Summit.
Mr. Ahmadinejad says he does not believe the United Nations will impose sanctions on Iran, because -- as he puts it -- there is no reason to have sanctions.
The United States says Iran should face sanctions now, because it ignored the U.N. Security Council's August 31st deadline for ending its uranium-enrichment program -- work that can produce weapons-grade nuclear material.
Britain, France and Germany -- the three European nations leading Western efforts to resolve the nuclear standoff -- indicated Wednesday they are still open to dialogue with Tehran.
The European Union's foreign-policy chief, Javier Solana, was to meet Thursday with Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, but their direct talks were postponed at the last minute. No reason was given, and lower-level aides from both sides are expected to go ahead with scheduled talks today in Paris.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday that Washington will push for sanctions against Iran when world powers meet on the issue at the United Nations next week. She says American diplomats and their colleagues from other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany will continue discussions on a proposed sanctions resolution that was circulated last week in Berlin.
The United States and other Western nations contend Iran is enriching uranium to pursue a secret nuclear-weapons program. Tehran says its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes exclusively.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters