Robin Pomeroy / Reuters & Anne Gearan / Associated Press – 2010-08-03 00:52:21
Iran’s Ahmadinejad Calls for TV Debate with Obama
Robin Pomeroy / Reuters
TEHRAN (Aug 2 2010) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on US President Barack Obama on Monday to face him in a televised one-on-one debate to see who has the best solutions for the world’s problems. The provocative proposal comes as Iran deals with a new wave of international sanctions — driven by Washington — aimed at putting pressure on the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program.
“Toward the end of summer we will hopefully be there for the (UN) General Assembly and I will be ready for one-on-one talks with Mr. Obama, in front of the media of course,” Ahmadinejad told a conference of Iranian expatriates in Tehran. “We will offer our solutions for world issues to see whose solutions are better.”
Ahmadinejad suggested such a debate last September, which was not taken up by Washington. He said Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, had declined similar invitations because he was “scared.”
Iran, the world’s fifth-largest oil producer, says its nuclear program is a peaceful bid to produce electricity. But its uranium enrichment activities, a process which can have both civilian and military uses, has fed fears in some countries that it is trying to build a nuclear weapon.
In his speech, the president mocked the sanctions and the potential for a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, an option that the United States and Israel say they do not rule out. “Who do you think is going to attack us? The Israeli regime? … We don’t consider the regime in our equations, let alone attacking us,” he said.
“They say we’ll issue sanctions? Okay, do it. How many resolutions have you issued so far? Four? Make it 4,000,” he said to loud applause from the conference.
Both Iran and the United States have indicated willingness to return to nuclear talks which stalled last October, leading to the new sanctions.
Amid the anti-American rhetoric in which he said US policy was based on colonialism and the “law of the jungle,” Ahmadinejad said he was ready for talks “based on justice and respect.”
“We are ready to hold talks at the highest level,” he said. “We have always favored talks, Iranians have never, ever favored war.”
Editing by Louise Ireland
Â© Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.
Mullen Says US Has Iran Strike Plan, Just in Case
Anne Gearan, National Security Writer/ Associated Press
WASHINGTON August 1, 2010) — The US military has a plan to attack Iran, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Sunday, although he thinks a military strike is probably a bad idea.
Not long after Adm. Mike Mullen’s aired on a Sunday talk show, the deputy chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard was quoted as saying there would be a strong Iranian response should the US take military action against his country.
Mullen, the highest ranking US military officer, often has warned that a strike on Iran would have serious and unpredictable ripple effects around the Middle East. At the same time, Mullen said the risk of Iran’s developing a nuclear weapon is unacceptable, although he would not say which risk he thinks is worse.
“I think the military options have been on the table and remain on the table,” Mullen said on “Meet the Press” on NBC. “It’s one of the options that the president has. Again, I hope we don’t get to that, but it’s an important option and it’s one that’s well understood.”
The official Iranian news agency IRNA quoted Revolutionary Guard deputy chief Yadollah Javani as saying Sunday that security in the Persian Gulf would be jeopardized “if Americans commit the slightest mistake.”
“The Persian Gulf is a strategic region. If the security of this region is endangered, they will suffer losses too and our response will be firm,” Javani said.
Iran repeatedly has threatened to target the heart of Tel Aviv, the second-largest city in Israel, should the US or Israel take military action against it.
The US and Iran are at odds over the goals of Iran’s nuclear program. Iran contends that it’s aimed at peaceful uses of nuclear energy while the US claims Iran is gearing up to create a nuclear weapon.
Associated Press writer Ali Akbar Dareini in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.