Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A softer tone

He's not the real power, in Iran, but this is still a good thing. It undermines the ability of neocon warmongers to label him crazy.

Los Angeles Times:
In his first formal news conference since a U.S. intelligence report last week undercut claims that Iran was secretly developing nuclear weapons, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad struck an unusually mild tone Tuesday, calling for dialogue with Washington and forgoing his usual anti-American and anti-Israeli rhetoric.

He also denied that Iran had resumed a secret nuclear weapons program, a claim made by an Iranian exile group, the Mujahedin Khalq, which has been listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department and the European Union. The group cited unidentified sources in Iran as saying the Islamic Republic had restarted its program in 2004.

A U.S. National Intelligence Estimate released last week concludes that Iran halted its weapons program in 2003. Tehran denies ever having such a program.

Ahmadinejad initially gloated over the report as vindication for Iran, though it says his country continued to enrich uranium and that Iran easily could restart its weapons program. But at the two-hour news conference, Ahmadinejad described the report as "a positive and forward step" by the U.S. to ease tensions in the Middle East.

"We do hope there will be one or two steps forward so as to make a different atmosphere for finding solutions," he told reporters. "If further steps are taken, then our problems will be less complicated."

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