'We Are Neither Obstinate nor Gullible'
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke with SPIEGEL about what he expects from US President Barack Obama, why America's new Afghanistan strategy is wrong and why Iran should have a spot on the UN Security Council.
Ahmadinejad: We feel that Obama must now follow his words with actions.
SPIEGEL: The new US president, who has called your aggressive anti-Israeli remarks "disgusting," has nevertheless spoken of a new beginning in relations with Iran and extended his hand to you.
Ahmadinejad: I haven't understood Obama's comments quite that way. I pay attention to what he says today. But that is precisely where I see a lack of something decisive. What leads you to talk about a new beginning? Have there been any changes in American policy? We welcome changes, but they have yet to occur.
SPIEGEL: You are constantly making demands. But the truth is: Your policies, Iran's disastrous relations with the United States, are a burden on the global community and a threat to world peace. Where is your contribution to the easing of tensions?
Ahmadinejad: I have already explained this to you. We support talks on the basis of fairness and respect. That has always been our position. We are waiting for Obama to announce his plans, so that we can analyze them.
SPIEGEL: And that's all?
Ahmadinejad: We have to wait and see what Obama wants to do.
SPIEGEL: The world sees this differently, and we do too. Iran must act. Iran must now show good will.
Ahmadinejad: Where is this world you are talking about? What do we have to do? You are aware that we are not the ones who severed relations with America. America cut off relations with us. What do you expect from Iran now?
SPIEGEL: Concrete steps, or at least a gesture on your part.
Ahmadinejad: I have already answered that question. Washington cut off relations.
SPIEGEL: Are you saying that you would welcome a resumption of relations with the United States?
Ahmadinejad: What do you think? What has to happen? Which approach is the right one?
SPIEGEL: The world expects answers from you, not from us.