President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad has said there is no major problem in Iran's relations with Britain. He welcomed "friendly relations" if Britain "adopts an independent stance towards Iran".
At a news conference in Tehran on 11 December, BBC correspondent Jon Leyne, asked Ahmadinezhad: "Mr President, in the light of what you have described as this great victory for Iran, is this the moment and are you the man, to make peace with the United States and Britain?
Ahmadinezhad replied: "Our nation wants peace and friendship. Our nation has never been the flag-bearer of any war or hostility in the world. Our nation has always welcomed friendly relations with all countries, apart from the Quds-occupying regime [Israel], which we consider to be illegitimate, aggressor and violator of human rights. That is the policy which we have been pursuing. We think that if other countries correct their understanding of the political situation and the Iranian nation and chang! e their behaviour, they would also not have any problem in this respect. Today we do not have any problem [with the establishment of friendly relations]. There are certain other countries which have problems in this respect, and it is up to them to solve those problems. As far as we are concerned, we have taken the necessary steps. That is, we have never pursued to increase tensions or widen the divisions. We have always welcomed any step which included the least bit of honesty. You can see that the same applies today. We do not have a great deal of problems with Britain. There is a small problem which concerns Britain following the policies of a third party. If Britain adopts an independent stance towards Iran you would see that there is not much problem. Recently we have received messages in this respect [independent stance in ties with Iran] and we have given positive responses to those messages. Concerning relations with America, the problem is also on the other side. T! he Iranian nation has never created problems. They, as already mention ed, can take two or three more positive steps to change the conditions."
The news conference was broadcast live by Iranian TV's news network TV, IRINN.
Source: Islamic Republic of Iran News Network, Tehran, in Persian 1203 gmt 11 Dec 07