Ahmadinejad is in his final months of his term of office and his followers are weakened by a feud with the Islamic Republic’s clerical establishment. His latest statement, which implies that he is an equal player with Khamenei in foreign policy matters, may simply be an attempt to appear as though he is still politically relevant.

“You pull away the gun from the face of the Iranian nation, and I myself will enter the talks with you,” Ahmadinejad said at a ceremony marking the 34th anniversary of the 1979 revolution that toppled a Western-backed monarch and ushered in the Islamic Republic.

He said the West had recently taken a “better” tone toward Iran — a nod to statements made by Vice President Joe Biden last week, in which he said the United States was prepared talk directly to Iran. But the Iranian president said this was not enough…

“The Iranian nation will not give up one iota of its rights,” Ahmadinejad said. “Your efforts had aimed at preventing us from become nuclear, but we did.”