Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in an interview published Monday he did not see any progress on his country's nuclear standoff with the West before the US presidential election in November.
"Experience has shown that important and key decisions are not made in the US leading up to national elections," Ahmadinejad said in an interview with the Washington Post newspaper.
He also said Iran was willing to make a deal on limiting its stockpile of enriched uranium but expressed doubt in the West's willingness to negotiate in good faith.
"We have always been ready and we are ready" to make a deal that will address Western concerns, he was quoted as saying, adding "We have given many sound proposals as well."
"Fundamentally, we have no concerns about moving forward with the dialogue, we have always wanted a dialogue. We have a very clear logic: We do believe that if everyone adheres to the rule of law and everyone respects all parties, that there will be no problems."
The United States and its European allies charge that Iran is working toward building a nuclear bomb but Tehran insists its atomic drive is for peaceful energy purposes.
There has been mounting speculation that Israel is planning a military strike on Iran's bunkered nuclear facilities, but Ahmadinejad said he agreed with what he called the "common consensus" that the Jewish state was bluffing.
The United States, Britain and France warned at the UN Security Council last week that time was running out for a negotiated solution, while the European Union is mulling further sanctions against Iran.
The so-called P5+1 -- permanent Security Council members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany, are due to hold talks in New York on Thursday on the Iran crisis.
But Ahmadinejad indicated he did not believe that Iran's nuclear programme was the real concern of the West, suggesting it might be used as a tool to undermine the country's Islamic government.
"Do you really believe that this is the root of the issue?" he asked. "That we have some tonnage of three plus per cent enriched uranium? So do you really believe that this is the only problem for those who are putting us under a lot of pressure?"
Ahmadinejad said the issue of fissile materials was being used as "only a pretense or an excuse."
"What assurances or guarantees exist that if we go through this phase there won't be additional obstacles?" he asked