Ahmadinejad suggests progress on nuclear talks after U.S. election

By The Wall Street Journal

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday suggested international talks over the country’s nuclear program could make some headway after the U.S. presidential elections, injecting himself into a campaign where both candidates are seeking to take a hard line against the prospect of a nuclear-armed Tehran.

Mr. Ahmadinejad, speaking on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, said he didn’t want to say anything that may appear to be meddling in the U.S. election when asked whether President Barack Obama might be bluffing about preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. But he predicted progress wouldn’t be made in seven-nation talks over Iran’s nuclear program before the U.S. votes in November.

“Following the elections, certainly the atmosphere will be much more stable and important decisions can be made and announced,” said Mr. Ahmadinejad. At that point, he hopes to take “some steps forward” with the P5+1 group — the U.S., China, Russia, Britain, France plus Germany.

Republican challenger Mitt Romney has sought to portray Mr. Obama as soft on Iran and disrespectful of Israel as an ally. However, the campaign has had trouble showing how his policy on Iran would differ much from the president’s.

Paul Ryan, Mr. Romney’s running mate, said the main difference is credibility.

“The president has moved his rhetoric a bit to look more like ours, and that’s good,” Mr. Ryan said on Fox News Sunday. “But the problem is it’s built upon a mountain of non-credible actions,”such as showing a policy differences with Israel and resistance to tougher sanctions.

David Plouffe, a senior White House adviser, defended the president’s policies toward Israel on ABC’s This Week, saying he has remained in close contact with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and has led an “unprecedented” international effort to tighten sanctions.

Mr. Ahmadinejad continued to dismiss the impact of the sanctions, claiming that many European companies are skirting the rules to do trade with Iran.

“Of course, we’re not fans of sanctions, but if anyone thinks that sanctions will bring Iran to her knees, they are certainly mistaken,” he said.


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