WASHINGTON, March 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President
Barack Obama offered on Friday in a surprise video a "new beginning" of
engagement with Iran, agencies reported.
The president has voiced changes in U.S. policy
towards its long-time foe since taking office.
In the video message, he said "my administration is
now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us,
and to pursuing constructive ties," while admitting "serious differences" that
have grown over time between the two sides.
Going further than previous statements, Obama said
the United States would seek engagement instead of threats and mutual respect,
adding that it will not be advanced by "threats."
He also urged the two countries to resolve their
He expressed willingness to speak clearly to Iran's
leaders and people.
U.S. President Barack Obama joins Jay
Leno before appearing on the NBC late night comedy show, "The Tonight Show
with Jay Leno," in Burbank, California, March 19, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters
Referring to the contentious issue of Iran's nuclear
program, Obama said the right to own nuclear program comes with "real
responsibilities," and that "cannot be reached through terror or arms, but
rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the
Iranian people and civilization."
"And the measure of that greatness is not the
capacity to destroy, it is your demonstrated ability to build and create," he
Iran had reacted with caution to the olive branch
extended recently by the Obama administration.
In February, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
said Iran was ready for "fair talks" with the United States.
"The new U.S. administration has said it wants
changes and follow the course of dialogue ... but the changes must be
fundamental and not tactical," he said.
Calling for a real change of strategy to pave the way
for direct talks, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said "we have to know
what their objectives are... practical steps for such a dialogue between Tehran
and Washington would be a strategy change."
Analysts said the fact that senior Iranian officials
have reiterated on several occasions the United States should make fundamental
"change" shows that Tehran is still worried whether the new U.S. administration
is repeating Bush's strategy using a different "tone."
BEIJING, March 19 -- The first nuclear power plant in
the Gulf seaport of Bushehr that Russia has been under contract to build is
expected to put into operation by the end of the upcoming summer, and its
operation does not pose a proliferation threat, said Sergey Novikov, secretary
of Russia's atomic energy agency on March 16.
As far as the Bushehr plant is concerned, Russia will
provide all the fuel it needs for the duration of its entire lifespan, and
Russia and Iran, keen to ease U.S. concerns over their nuclear ties, signed a
special deal requiring Tehran to recover and return all the nuclear waste from
the reactor to Moscow, Novikov told reporters from the "Voice of Russia" radio
station in a recent interview. Full story
March 13 (Xinhua) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday dismissed
international sanctions against the country as a "childish thinking" and a
The idea of impeding Iran's progress through sanctions was
a "childish thinking and a grave blunder," the official IRNA news agency quoted
Ahmadinejad as saying in the Gulf city of Assalouyeh. Full story
WASHINGTON, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Iran "is keeping open the option to develop"
nuclear weapons, the U.S. director of national intelligence said Tuesday.
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee,
Dennis Blair said "although we do not know whether Iran currently intends to
develop nuclear weapons, we assess Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the
option to develop them." Full story
UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- Iran Thursday lashed
out at the U.S. statement on its nuclear program and alleged engagement in
terrorism, calling such allegations "baseless and absurd."
In a letter circulated to the UN Security Council
president, the Iranian permanent representative to the United Nations, Mohammad
Khazaee, said, "It is unfortunate that the Security Council yet again heard some
baseless allegations against the Islamic Republic of Iran by the representative
of the United States in today's meting of the council on Iraq." Full story