WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad in a radio interview said the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency offers "the best guarantee" that Iran can enrich uranium for peaceful uses, and said the United States "should cease putting pressure" on the agency.
In an interview to be aired on September 23 on National Public Radio (NPR), Ahmadinejad also said diplomatic relations between Iran and the United States should advance, citing a willingness to cooperate on security in Iraq.
NPR released a transcript of the interview with Ahmadinejad, who is to address the UN General Assembly in New York this week.
Asked if Iran has a plan to reassure the world it intends to use its nuclear program for peaceful means only, Ahmadinejad said the United States should "extend at least the equivalent of one-10th the cooperation we have extended" to the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). "We believe that the IAEA itself offers the best guarantee," he added.
The United States believes Iran's nuclear program is aimed at making a bomb, but Iran says it is for peaceful energy purposes.
Ahmadinejad said it was "the policy approach of the U.S. government that's been nonresponsive and must change. It is not our proposals that are going to fix the problem."
The IAEA has released a report detailing Iran's noncooperation with the agency's investigation of whether Iran had covertly researched ways to make an atomic bomb.
'Lots Of Leaps Forward'
Major powers are considering a fourth round of UN sanctions against Iran to curb its nuclear program, but Russia and China have resisted more punitive measures.
On U.S.-Iranian relations, Ahmadinejad said he has "taken lots of leaps forward in this respect," adding, "I even said that I am prepared to talk at the United Nations with them."
He also said Iran "responded positively" to Washington's request "to extend a hand of cooperation in a joint security commission involved in upholding a security force for Iraq. So we did whatever we could."
Ahmadinejad, who has predicted the demise of Israel, also compared his proposal for a Palestinian referendum on the future of Israel, West Bank, and Gaza Strip to the end of the Soviet Union.
"Let me create an analogy here -- where exactly is the Soviet Union today? It did disappear -- but exactly how? It was through the vote of its own people. So therefore in Palestine, too, we must allow the people, the Palestinians, to determine their own future," he said.