Ahmadinejad: If U.S. Approach Changes, Iranian Response Will Be Positive

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that his country would welcome a new approach from the United States that's less confrontational.

"Today, we see new behavior shown by the United States and the officials of the United States," said Ahmadinejad in an interview on NBC that aired Monday. "My question is, is such behavior rooted in a new approach, in other words mutual respect, cooperation and justice? Or this approach is a continuation in the confrontation with the Iranian people, but in a new guise?"

Last weekend, U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns joined diplomats from Iran and five other countries in talks over the Islamic state's nuclear program. The United States and other Western nations have called on Iran to halt the enriching of uranium, a step in the process of developing nuclear weapons.

Ahmadinejad, who is the country's highest elected official yet serves under Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, added in the interview that Iranians had become "acclimated" to a U.S. policy marked by confrontation.

"If this is the continuation of the old process, well, the Iranian people needs to defend its right, its interests as well," he said. "But if the approach changes, we will be facing a new situation, and the response by the Iranian people will be a positive one."