UNITED NATIONS – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday that his nation would negotiate suspending its nuclear enrichment "under fair and just conditions," but declined to give a timeframe on when that might happen.
"If they recognize that we too as a nation have rights and that they too recognize international law, well then, many things are possible," Ahmadinejad said.
Speaking at a hastily called press conference at the United Nations, Ahmadinejad insisted his country had cooperated with the International Atomic Energy Agency and that the nation's nuclear program was so transparent, even farmers and students could visit the nuclear facilities. He challenged the United States to do the same.
"We work within the framework of [the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty]; we seek to find our rights within that framework and nothing more," Ahmadinejad said.
He also called for the destruction of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, saying if it were to be destroyed, the United States "would be less suspicious of others."
"We do not need a bomb unlike what others think," Ahmadinejad said, two days after addressing the General Assembly at its annual meeting. "Regretfully, some believe that the nuclear bomb can be effective in international relations. They're wrong because the time for nuclear bombs has ended, we know that."
"We are not seeking the nuclear bomb, that's quite clear," he said.
In his address to the General Assembly, Ahmadinejad called the Iranian uranium enrichment program “transparent, peaceful and under the watchful eye” of the IAEA.
President Bush had earlier told the same body that Iran must “abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions.”
The Iranian president called for a change to the international system of justice, saying the current United Nations system benefits the victors of World War II, leaving those nations who did not participate in the war shut out from a fair system of justice.
"It leads some to believe they have more rights to rule the affairs of the world than the others, to run world affairs," he said.
Ahmadinejad questioned the "aggression" in Palestine. "There has been an effort to bring others from all over the world to place in that territory," he said.
He wondered where in the U.N. charter it “endorses the displacement of a whole nation [Palestine] and its replacement by another group and an establishment of a state [Israel] by the second group to rule the fate of the first group.”
But he insisted that characterizations that painted him to be a terrorist, murderer or an anti-Semite were false.
"I'm not anti-Jew," he said. "Jews are respected by everyone — like all human beings — and I respect them very much."
When asked if he supported the destruction of Israel he replied: "We love everyone around the world."
"We have no problem with regular people ... everyone should enjoy their legitimate rights," he said. "But again, I repeat that we oppose aggression and violence and murder. And we say that loudly."