In Geneva, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China – plus Germany offered Iran a package of incentives to suspend its controversial enrichment program. Tehran has until Saturday to respond.
"They submitted a package, and we responded by submitting our own package," Ahmadinejad said when asked what Iran’s response would be.
""It’s very natural in the first steps we are going to negotiate over the common ground as they exist inside the two packages. If the two parties succeed in agreeing over the common ground, that will help us to work on our differences as well, to reach an agreement."
Ahmadinejad also signalled that if the recent diplomatic overture by the U.S. in Geneva was sincere, it could lead to positive developments.
"For more than 50 years now, the policy of American statesmen has been to confront the Iranian people, and our people to a large sense, have become acclimated with this situation, and we have tried to work around it. Today, we see new behaviour shown by the United States and the officials of the United States. My question is: is such behaviour rooted in a new approach, in other words, mutual respect, cooperation and justice? Or this approach is a continuation in the confrontation with the Iranian people, but in a new guise?" he said.
"But if the approach changes, we will be facing a new situation, and the response by the Iranian people will be a positive one.""
The Bush Administration is dying, not listening. It does not seem to want anything more from Iran than continued belligerence that may contain an excuse for an "execute" order for existing plans. The Israeili right and its friends in the US continue to urge preventive war against Iran. They urge it every day. As I have written before, people must remember that there are no effective restraints in the US on short term presidential use of air and sea based power. If President Bush orders operations in Iran, the armed forces of the United States will not ask for a legal opinion as to whether or not he has the legal right. They will obey orders and let the lawyers and Congress sort out the niceties of constitutional authority after the fact.
I include the Iranians as "people" in this admonition. In the interest of keeping the peace I offer them the following unsolicited advice:
An excuse should not be provided to the Bush Administration if war is not the desired "end state."
Iran is still transmitting ambiguous messages to the United States. I presume that this is a matter of national pride. This kind of pride can be a deadly thing. Forget pride.
Send messages so unambiguous that your desire to work out a viable relationship with the US can not be distorted into something to be taken "with a grain of salt."
Find international mediators who are not "allies" of the US. Try the UN again. Try the Organization of Islamic Unity. Try Pope Benedict. Try. pl