Iran is preparing a package of proposals to present to Western powers that could be a basis for future talks, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told a news conference in Tehran on Saturday.
The proposals deal with political and economic issues as well as security and international affairs. The United States and its European allies want to draw Iran back into negotiations over its nuclear program. At the Group of Eight summit in Italy last week, President Barack Obama said there is now a September "time frame" for Iran to respond to offers to discuss its nuclear program.
Tolerance or crackdown? Mohammad Mohammadian, a cleric who heads supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's office of university affairs, urged the country's establishment Saturday to be more tolerant of dissent created by last month's marred re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "We cannot order public opinion to get convinced," Mohammadian said. Providing a counterpoint, armed forces chief of staff Maj. Gen. Hassan Firoozabadi issued stern warnings against protesters. "Certain individuals and groups imagine that we will back down if they shout slogans against us. We have come to die, and we have proved our determination during the war with Iraq," he said.
Rally in Washington: Hundreds of protesters, many of them Iranian-Americans, marched from Capitol Hill to the White House on Saturday, most holding Iranian flags and chanting demands for the United States to more take action after Iran's disputed election. They called on President Barack Obama and leaders of other countries to "reject the sham elections, impose complete sanctions." Some carried pictures of Neda Agha Soltan, a young woman who was shot and bled to death on a Tehran street. Iranian-American organizations and human rights groups organized the march. Protesters demanded that Iran hold an election supervised by the United Nations.