By Juan Cole
Ahmadinejad went on to warn President Barack Obama of the US that the Tehran Declaration represents a “historic opportunity for him” should he genuinely want “change,” — an opportunity to begin respecting the rights of other nations and to abandon wrong and inhumane policies, treating other countries instead with justice and fairness.
The Iranian newspaper Tabnak reports that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a speech on Wednesday, took a hard line with Russia and also pressured the US to accept the deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil on Iranian low enriched uranium (the “Tehran Declaration.”)
Ahmadinejad, speaking in the city of Kerman, said that Iran and Russia had been friends for centuries. He addressed Dimitry Medvedev, president of the Russian Federation, saying that there was some danger if Russia continued on its present path that Iranians would switch, and begin considering Russia a historical enemy. He added, “We are both neighbors, and two neighbors cannot but be friends with one another. But this friendship has prerequisites. The first prerequisite is honoring reciprocal rights, and defense of them, and mutual respect.”
He continued, “Today, explaining the behavior of Medvedev toward the nation of Iran is very difficult for us . . . The people of Iran do not know if the Russians are our friends or are against us.” He advised President Medvedev to speak with more caution and forethought about such a large and capable nation as Iran.
“We must not perceive that our neighbor, on sensitive positions, has taken the side of those [the United States] who have for 30 years with all their might acted with enmity toward the nation of Iran . . . This matter is unacceptable. The Tehran Declaration is the greatest opportunity and there is no longer any pretext.” He said that if, before, the Russians could say that the West was putting pressure and wanted to see Iran take some significant step and make an important announcement, well, it had now done so.
He said, “We are also under pressure. But can we, just because of that pressure, act against the Russian nation?”