LONDON (Reuters) - Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday mocked U.S. President Barack Obama’s “extended hand” offer made earlier this year and said his country’s cooperation on its nuclear program had been spurned.
The U.S. president had been a disappointment to the world, Ahmadinejad said in an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 News, a full transcript of which was later posted on its website.
He once again dismissed a year-end deadline on a U.N.-drafted fuel deal, saying it was “meaningless.” The deal requires Iran to ship most of its low-enriched uranium (LEU) abroad in exchange for fuel for a Tehran research reactor.
The United States has made it clear it intends to pursue harsher sanctions against Iran in the United Nations if Iran fails to meet the deadline.
Ahmadinejad said Iran had made the proposal, and according to the regulations the offer of fuel was unconditional.
“But they are insisting that to have conditions for giving us the fuel — political conditions I mean — while the exchange of fuel is a technical job. I have not yet heard anybody who has given a deadline for this because it is meaningless.”
Iran says its uranium enrichment program is solely aimed at generating electricity so it can export more gas and oil. The West believes Iran wants to make atomic bombs.
“I think it has become an old issue to talk about the nuclear program,” Ahmadinejad said.
“The story of these claim(s) of U.S. and its allies have turned into a TV series.”
He said Iran would not accept a policy of “intimidation and aggression” from the United States, and warned if the major powers did not accept the offer, Iran would produce 20 percent grade uranium.
The president said Iran had told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about the uranium enriching facility at Qom a year before the activities started “but unfortunately they have misinterpreted our cooperation.”
“When you cooperate the reactions are negative,” he said. “What does that mean? Does it mean we should not cooperate at all? We are keen to have friendly relations with all. But the basis of judgment and cooperation is on a legal basis.”
Ahmadinejad rejected Obama’s speech in which he said “if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fists, they will find an extended hand from us.”
“Which hand did he extend? His right hand or left hand?” Ahmadinejad asked.
“Who has extended his hand in practice? He extended the sanctions against us. What step has he taken?
“We are concerned about his avenues — he has failed to meet the expectations of the people in the U.S. and the people of the world.”
Reporting by Avril Ormsby; Editing by Louise Ireland