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Ahmadinejad delivers ultimatum to Obama on nuclear swap deal

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday urged Barack Obama to accept a nuclear fuel swap deal, warning the U.S. leader will miss a historic opportunity for improved cooperation from Tehran if the offer is rejected. Photo: AP   | Photo Credit: Hamed Malekpour

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday asked his American counterpart Barack Obama to either choose friendship with Iran by supporting the nuclear swap deal that it had signed earlier this month with Turkey and Brazil or be prepared for a permanent closure of dialogue.

“Mr. Obama must know that this proposal is a historic opportunity ... [Mr. Obama should] know that if this opportunity is lost, I doubt the Iranian nation will give a new chance to this gentleman in the future,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said during a public address at the southern city of Kerman. On May 17, Iran, Turkey and Brazil had signed an agreement entailing the transfer to Turkey of large quantities of Iran’s lightly enriched uranium. In return, Iran would get nuclear fuel to run its medical reactor located in Tehran.

The Iranian President said Mr. Obama should be wary of those who want Tehran and Washington to become permanent adversaries. “There are people in the world who want to pit Mr. Obama against the Iranian nation and bring him to the point of no return, where the path to his friendship with Iran will be blocked forever.”

Misgivings about President Medvedev

In his free-wheeling address, Mr. Ahmadinejad also aired his misgivings about Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s supposedly ambivalent stance on the nuclear swap deal.

“Justifying the behaviour of Mr. Medvedev today has become very difficult,” he said. “The Iranian nation doesn't know whether [Russians] ultimately are friends, whether they stand by us or are after other things. This is not acceptable.”

“I hope Russian leaders and officials pay attention to these sincere words and correct themselves, and not let the Iranian nation consider them among its enemies," the President added.

Apart from the President, Iran’s atomic energy establishment has also commented critically on the Russian position. Iran’s state-run Press TV quoted Ali Akbar Salehi, the country’s atomic energy chief as saying that Moscow should live by its promises on supporting the Iranian nuclear programme.

“In line with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent comments, we expect a great nation such as Russia to show firmer support for its honest and friendly neighbour,” he said. Russia had earlier announced that it planned to complete work on Iran’s Bushehr atomic power plant by August.


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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 11:59:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Ahmadinejad-delivers-ultimatum-to-Obama-on-nuclear-swap-deal/article16303628.ece

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