Washington: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in an interview published on Monday he was willing to make a deal on limiting his country's stockpile of enriched uranium but expressed doubt in the West's willingness to negotiate in good faith.

"We have always been ready and we are ready" to make a deal that will address Western concerns, he was quoted as saying in an interview.

"We have given many sound proposals as well," the Iranian President said.

"Fundamentally, we have no concerns about moving forward with the dialogue, we have always wanted a dialogue. We have a very clear logic: We do believe that if everyone adheres to the rule of law and everyone respects all parties, that there will be no problems."

The United States and its European allies say that Iran is working toward building a nuclear bomb while Iran says its research is for peaceful energy purposes.

There has been mounting speculation that Israel is planning a military strike on Iran's bunkered nuclear facilities, but Ahmadinejad said he agreed with he called the "common consensus" that the Jewish state was bluffing.

The United States, Britain and France warned at the UN Security Council last week that time was running out for a negotiated solution with Iran.

But Ahmadinejad indicated he did not believe that Iran's nuclear programme was the real concern of the West, suggesting it might be used as a tool to undermine the country's Islamic government.

"Do you really believe that this is the root of the issue?" he asked. "That we have some tonnage of three plus percent enriched uranium? So do you really believe that this is the only problem for those who are putting us under a lot of pressure?"
Ahmadinejad said the issue of fissile materials was being used "only a pretense or an excuse."

"What assurances or guarantees exist that if we go through this phase there won't be additional obstacles?" he asked.

He also said he did not expect any progress in negotiations before the November 6 presidential election in the United States.

"Experience has shown that important and key decisions are not made in the US leading up to national elections," he said.


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