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memri
April 20, 2009 No.
2317

Ahmadinejad to West: You Are Weak, Your Hands Are Empty, And You Can't Force Us to Do Anything; Nearly 7,000 Centrifuges Are Spinning Today at Natanz, Mocking You

In an April 15, 2009 speech in Kerman, Iran, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran was working diligently to draw up a new proposals package, to be presented soon to the West. He said that this package would assure peace and justice for the nations, and that it must be the basis for any dialogue between Iran and the West.

In response to U.S. President Barack Obama's "outstretched hand," as he expressed in his April 1, 2009 speech, Ahmadinejad emphasized that the West was weak, and could not force anything on Iran. Ahmadinejad enumerated Iran's demands for dialogue with the U.S.; the demands included the withdrawal of Western forces, the destruction of the West's entire nuclear arsenal, and respect for Iran's right to its nuclear program.

This response by Ahmadinejad is in addition to his previous response to Obama's speech; in that response, Ahmadinejad noted that Iran would cut off any hand extended to attack it. [1] Also, on March 21, 2009, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei stated that it was the U.S. that had to change, particularly in regard to its policy towards Iran. [2]

It should also be noted that in response to being invited to the Hague Conference on Afghanistan, held March 31, 2009 - a conference which was attended by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - Iran sent a diplomat of the rank of deputy, Deputy Foreign Minister Mehdi Akhoundzadeh. Furthermore, in response to Clinton's statement that U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke had met with Akhoundzadeh and that the Iranians had been given a letter concerning the four U.S. citizens missing in Iran, both Akhoundzadeh and Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi denied that there had been any meeting and also the receipt of any letter. [3]

Also, recently the U.S. removed the precondition to negotiations with Iran that it had maintained for years - i.e. that Iran stop uranium enrichment. Since Iran absolutely refuses to discuss the issue of its uranium enrichment, the issue has now become a final aim of U.S. negotiations with Iran.

A senior U.S. State Department official said, in an anonymous April 15, 2009 interview with the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, that the "contacts" proposed by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana to Iran early this week are a kind of "discussions" that will constitute an "opportunity for serious negotiations" that will subsequently become a "possibility to solve the intricate problem... and then the joint work will begin, to deal with the international problem concerning Iran's nuclear program." [4]

The following are excerpts from Ahmadinejad's speech at Kerman: [5]

"You Yourselves Know That You Are Today In A Position Of Weakness; Your Hands Are Empty, And You Can No Longer Promote Your Affairs From A Position Of Strength"

"We welcome [the call by the West for dialogue with Iran], but we put forth several proposals to them: We say to you that you yourselves know that you are today in a position of weakness. Your hands are empty, and you can no longer promote your affairs from a position of strength. We recommend that you amend your rhetoric towards the rest of the nations, respect them, and not talk with the Iranian nation from the position of egocentric people. [Iran] will respond to anyone who wants to talk with the Iranian nation from a position of egocentrism just like it responded to Mr. Bush..."

"There have been great changes in the world in this past year. We are drawing up a new package, which we will present when it is ready. This package guarantees peace, justice, respect for the nations, and the participation of all of them in resolving world problems. We are people of dialogue and reason, and we say to you [i.e. the West] that today the world is run with respect and justice... and those who want to use [the tool] of forcing [a policy on others] are backwards. I hereby tell you that, with the grace of God, none of the [world] powers can now, nor will they ever be able to, force anything at all on the Iranian nation... For 30 years, the Iranian nation has invited you to reason, dialogue, and adherence to the law..."

"Anyone Who Talks About Change Must Change His Own Behavior and Policy"

"Anyone who talks about change must change his own behavior and policy. He must stop talking with the nations out of egocentrism and from a position of arrogance; he must officially recognize, and respect, the rights of the nations. Similarly, he must collect his forces from across the world, and withdraw them to his own borders..."

"The Fundamental Step [Must Be] the Collection and Destruction of All [Nuclear] Arsenals in the World"

"We hear that they [i.e. the Western countries] want, after 50 or 60 years [since WWII], to remove their atom bombs from Germany, and to return them to their own countries. This is a good move, but we maintain that the fundamental step [must be] the collection and destruction of all [nuclear] arsenals in the world, in a single place, together with their storehouses, so that the nations will attain peace and tranquility...

"If they ask for real change, they must withdraw all their military bases and respect the independence and the values of the nations.

"Four and a half years ago, those [i.e. the reformists under Iranian President Mohammad Khatami] who went to negotiate [with the West] said to their interlocutors, after they agreed to freeze all [uranium enrichment], "We want [nuclear energy for the purposes of] science and technology. Give us permission to operate 20 centrifuges.' But the other side [i.e. the West] answered insolently, 'If you want to operate 20 centrifuges, you must discuss this for 10 years, and maybe after 10 years you will get permission to operate 20 centrifuges.'

"But today, with the grace of God, and thanks to Iran's national unity, the recommendations of Supreme Leader [Ali Khamenei], and the following of his [path], nearly 7,000 centrifuges are spinning today at Natanz, mocking them." [6]

Endnotes:

[1] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 2305, "Ahmadinejad in Response to Obama: 'Any Hand Outstretched to Attack Us Will Be Cut Off,'" April 2, 2009, Ahmadinejad in Response to Obama: "Any Hand Outstretched to Attack Us Will Be Cut Off".

[2] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 2297, "Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei's New Year Speech and Reactions to President Obama's Message," March 25, 2009, Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei's New Year's Speech and Reactions to President Obama's Message.

[3] See "Iran Denies Talks with American Representatives at the Hague," http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/15166.htm, April 1, 2009.

[4] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), April 15, 2009.

[5] ISNA (Iran), April 15, 2009.

[6] ISNA (Iran), April 15, 2009.