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Ahmadinejad: Iran is ready for nuclear talks

The Iranian president is the latest in a string of top officials to signal the country is ready to talk about its nuclear program.

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives at Tehran's Mehrabad airport on January 14, 2012 upon his return from a five-day visit to Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday indicated that he was ready for international talks on the country’s controversial nuclear program, the New York Times reported.

The remarks came Thursday in a speech Ahmadinejad gave in the southern province of Kerman. The president claimed that because the US does not buy oil from Iran, and this does not harm Iran’s economy, a recent European Union oil embargo would therefore not harm his country.

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The EU embargo is in response to allegations by Western countries that Iran is enriching fuel to build an atomic bomb. Iran says it is enriching fuel for nuclear power.

Next week, United Nations nuclear inspectors return to follow up on claims by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran is proceeding toward building a weapon, though experts dispute when they will reach the point where they have enough material to produce a bomb. The country is suffering from massive inflation due to US-led sanctions, according to GlobalPost. 

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"They have this excuse that Iran is dodging negotiations while it is not the case," the Iranian leader was quoted as saying by state media on Thursday, according to Al Jazeera. "Iran is ready to negotiate on the basis of mutual respect," sand Iran's foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120126/ahmadinejad-iran-ready-nuclear-talks