Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday that Iran would readily hold direct talks with the US on nuclear issues during the Bali Democracy Forum.

Mr. Ahmadinejad claimed that Iran’s nuclear program was being politicized after sanctions imposed by the West and invited all nuclear scientists to inspect the country’s nuclear sites to prove that no weapons program exists, IRNA reports. He also told reporters at the press conference that the dispute should be resolved through direct talks between Iran and the US.

“We believe in friendly relations between peoples and governments, and Iran hails all relations based on justice and mutual respect,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said.

The Iranian president also accused the United Nations watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency of being under Western influence, saying that there was no need for interference of any other new organization.

Western nations, spearheaded by the US, imposed an oil embargo on Iran to pressure the country to drop its nuclear ambitions which are believed to be aimed at producing weapons of mass destruction. The US says it is open to direct bilateral nuclear talks with Iran, a diplomatic source said.