Ahmadinejad: Iran ready for nuclear cooperation

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a U.N. meeting in New York on September 25, 2009

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Iran’s hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad struck a rare conciliatory note Thursday, saying that the Islamic republic was ready for nuclear cooperation with Western powers.

“We welcome the exchange of fuel, technical cooperation and construction of power plants and reactors and we are prepared to cooperate (in those areas),” he said. Iran shocked the world in September by revealing the existence of a previously unknown nuclear plant near the city of Qom. The IAEA, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, sent a team of inspectors for a four-day visit to that facility, Press TV said. It said the inspectors “have expressed satisfaction with their mission.” Iranian officials are expected to meet with the five permanent members of theU.N. Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — plus Germany, to further discuss the nuclear program. Ahmadinejad also said that Iran expected countries who are parties to the talks to “fulfill their previous obligations.” “We have nuclear contracts. It has been 30 years. We have paid for them .. such agreements must be fulfilled … for technical activities, for reactors and power plants. If we intend to cooperate, such contracts must be addressed and the previous commitments must be fulfilled.” Iranian lawmaker Hossein Ebrahimi told the semi-official Mehr News Agency on Wednesday that nuclear talks between Iran and Western powers have greatly improved. “Current international circumstances suggest that the atmosphere of distrust in the ongoing nuclear talks is diminishing,” said Ebrahimi, a member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee. He said the IAEA-brokered proposal would be beneficial “because Iran’s right to produce enriched uranium would be recognized.” “If we choose this option, we can continue enrichment and gradually increase our ability to produce uranium that is more enriched to supply our power plants and reactors in the future,” Ebrahimi added.