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      Ahmadinejad: Two-State Deal Fine with Us If Palestinians Agree

      Iranian leader on possible Israel-PA two-state deal: “Whatever decision they take is fine with us,” but maintains "Zionist regime" embodies racism.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 4/26/2009, 9:20 PM

      Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in an interview aired Sunday it would be "fine" with Iran if Israel and the “Palestinians” reach a peace deal based on the two-state model.

      In an interview with the U.S. network ABC, interviewer George Stephanopoulos asked: "If the Palestinians sign an agreement with Israel, will Iran support it?"

      Ahmadinejad answered: "Whatever decision they take is fine with us. We are not going to determine anything. Whatever decision they take, we will support that. We think that is the right of the Palestinian people, however we fully expect other states to do so as well."

      Ahmadinejad stood by his speech last week in the "Durban 2" conference at Geneva, however, and said the U.S. should have attended the conference. President Barack Obama "has the right to have his own opinion,” he said, “but the Geneva conference had been organized to combat racism, to oppose racism. My point of view is that the Zionist regime is the manifestation of racism," he added.

      Ahmadinejad also sounded a partly conciliatory note towards the U.S. He said he had been criticized at home for congratulating President Obama after his election. "Nevertheless, I did that. I have yet to receive a response," he noted.

      "Mr Obama sends us messages of friendship, but in the communiqué issued by the '5+1', enmity can be seen. So this is a dual route, if you will," he said, in a reference to talks about Iran’s nuclear program involving the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany.

      Ahmadinejad said Tehran was “reconsidering” a proposed “package” that it planned to offer to the world powers in the nuclear negotiations. "We are adding new issues to the realm, if you will, of the talks. And we are going to make that public as soon as possible. We are always ready to talk," he said. “We think that we should prepare the ground so that all states and peoples can have their say. We are ready to contribute to international security, peace, and global friendship and global disarmament."