Iran Ready to Negotiate over Nuclear Program

Ahmadinejad said Iran was “ready to engage in dialogue with anybody” in response to a question on a letter he sent to President Bush this week that marked the first direct communication with the United States since 1980.

ElBaradei, who said Iran poses “no imminent threat,” is optimistic about Ahmadinejad’s statement and added he was pleased that the Security Council delayed voting on a resolution by the Europeans that could lead to sanctions against Iran.

“I hope both sides will move away from the war of words, I hope the pitch will go down,” said ElBaradei at a conference in Amsterdam. “We need compromises from both sides.”

Ahmadinejad told a crowd of students in Jakarta, Indonesia that it was the right of every country to use new technology to meet energy needs. Iran maintains it wants to produce low-grade enriched uranium for peaceful purposes and not highly enriched uranium used to develop weapons.

The Security Council vote scheduled for Tuesday was postponed two weeks in order to give Iran an opportunity to re-evaluate its nuclear program, a move welcomed by ElBaradei.

The five permanent members of the Security Council remain divided over how to handle Iran’s uranium enrichment program. Britain, France and the United States support a resolution under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter that would declare Iran a threat to international peace and security with the possibility of sanctions or military action in the future.

On the other hand, China and Russia, both with economic ties to Iran, oppose the resolution.

In the same speech in Indonesia, Ahmadinejad continued his public attacks on Israel, calling it a “tyrannical regime that one day will be destroyed.”

Indonesia supports Iran’s right to pursue nuclear technology for peaceful means and offered on Wednesday to mediate talks concerning Iran’s intentions.