«The Zionist regime is a threat to all nations».
The was the outspoken words of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a welcome speech to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on a two-day visit to Tehran on Tuesday.
Ahmadinejad also praised Erdogan’s recent sharp criticism of Israel, saying it has had «a positive impact on the world of Islam».
The Iranian leader added that when an «illegal regime [like Israel] has atomic weapons, it’s impossible to block others», from having peaceful nuclear energy. His comments echoed statements voiced by Erdogan in the Guardian (UK) on Monday.
Meanwhile, reports today indicate Iran will demand «important changes» to the UN-drafted nuclear fuel deal tabled in Vienna last week. Al Alam state television cited an unnamed official as saying Iran opposes shipping its full stockpile of low-enriched uranium at once, and will make a counter-offer for a step-by-step approach within the next two days.
Later the same day, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said «the deal was a good deal and I don’t think it requires fundamental changes». French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner added that Iran «cannot take forever. We wait for answers».