Hamas Extends Invitation to Ahmadinejad

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Hamas, the Palestinian faction controlling the Gaza Strip, extended an invitation to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, FARS, Iran's state-controlled news agency, reported on Tuesday.

"We invite [President] Ahmadinejad to pay a visit to the Gaza Strip, and we are confident that the visit will have extraordinary importance," Ahmed Yousef, the Hamas deputy foreign minister, told FARS.

Yousef said Ahmadinejad's visit would boost the morale of the "resistance," as he did in his first official visit to Lebanon last month, when he congratulated the people on their stance against "the Zionist regime's criminal conduct."

Meanwhile, in a televised speech delivered from the central Iranian city of Qazvin, Ahmadinejad said Iran's nuclear rights are non-negotiable, Reuters reported.

"We have repeatedly said that our [nuclear] rights are not negotiable," Ahmadinejad said.

"[Iran] is ready to hold talks on equal conditions to help settle ongoing problems, ease international concerns and establish peace and security in the world," he said.

Ahmadinejad added that "Iran welcomes any hand extended with honestly but would cut off any hand extended with deception."

In a letter to EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, dated November 9, Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said he would be willing to hold talks in Turkey on November 23 or December 5.

A spokesperson for Ashton said she would discuss the offer with the six world powers.

A year ago, talks with the Islamic Republic broke down, leading to increased sanctions. 

Iran insists the sanctions have had little effect on the country's nuclear program. But U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Tuesday he thinks they're taking "a bite."

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