(Bloomberg) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he wants to interact with the world using an “approach of change” to “break the monopoly of global powers,” the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
“The nature of the Islamic Republic is to break the bipolar exclusivity of the world,” Ahmadinejad said in an address at the Intelligence Ministry in Tehran today, including the “influence of the military powers in political dealings.”
Iran’s relations with the West are continuing to worsen, complicating future talks over the country’s nuclear program. The Iranian leadership accuses the U.S. and the U.K. of instigating the violence that followed protests by Ahmadinejad’s opponents, who allege massive ballot-rigging in the June 12 presidential election.
The Guardian Council, a body that supervises the election and ratifies its result, declared Ahmadinejad the winner in the disputed vote following a random recount of 10 percent of the ballots, IRNA reported. Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, the council’s spokesman, said today the “election’s dossier is closed” and that no complaints could be filed any more, the state-run Iranian Students News Agency reported.
The original tally showing Ahmadinejad won 63 percent of the vote to 34 percent for his leading challenger, former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, prompted the largest anti- government protests in Iran since the 1979 ouster of the shah by Islamic revolutionaries. Mousavi demanded the election be scrapped because of what he said was vote-rigging.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hassan Qashqavi, said yesterday five of the nine Iranian employees of the British Embassy who were detained had been freed, IRNA reported. Calls to the British Embassy in Tehran were not answered.
Intelligence Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei, in comments reported by state-run Press TV, said the embassy had played a key part in the demonstrations “both through its local staff and via media.” The arrests were condemned by the U.K. and the European Union.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, said President Barack Obama handled Iran “just right” by “moral support, historical endorsement, expressions of sympathy and sadness for the victims, but no outright political condemnation that could smack of political interference.”
A potential engagement with Iran “will be slower and perhaps initially at a lower level than originally might have been feasible,” said Brzezinski in an interview with Bloomberg Television, hinting that the atmosphere will be dominated by hostility, accusations and condemnations.
Ilan Berman, an Iran expert at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, said the British Embassy arrests were a sign that the Iranian leadership is feeling embattled and would make it harder for the EU to resume nuclear negotiations with Iran.
“This is a visceral move by Iran; it’s not a very smart one,” he said.
Iran also ordered two U.K. diplomats to leave the country on June 22, prompting the expulsion of two Iranian diplomats from London. Iran also ordered a British Broadcasting Corp. correspondent out of Tehran after accusations that the U.K. was interfering in Iran’s internal affairs.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on June 19 called Britain the “most treacherous” Western nation. He criticized the West over the weekend for making “idiotic remarks” about the presidential election. Qashqavi said yesterday in remarks carried live on state television that an end to diplomatic ties with any country is not on the agenda.
Conditions on Talks
The EU said yesterday the treatment of protesters would determine whether major world powers will re-enter talks on Iran’s nuclear program. A special judicial committee will examine the status of people detained after demonstrations, a judiciary spokesman said.
EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, said in Corfu, Greece, that new nuclear talks are possible “if they are ready and we are ready in view of the outcome.”
European governments are keen to restart negotiations “soon,” offering Iran help with its civilian energy program as long as the country gives up any nuclear weapons ambitions, Solana said.
Iranian authorities have succeeded in largely quelling the protests after using force to keep people off the streets and arresting hundreds of activists. Protesters who defied a ban on opposition rallies since the election have been met with water cannons, tear gas and clubs as security forces dispersed crowds. As many as 17 protesters and eight militiamen have died, according to state-run media.
Ahmadinejad vowed on June 27 to take a tougher approach to the West during his second term, saying the U.S. administration’s criticism of his crackdown on dissent after the election shows its offer of talks on Iran’s nuclear program isn’t genuine.
Iran, the world’s fourth-largest oil producer, says its nuclear program is aimed purely at generating electricity.