TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran’s president said on Thursday the new U.S. administration must change Washington’s approach to the Islamic Republic, which is embroiled in a row with the United States over its nuclear program.
Asked about President-elect Barack Obama, who has promised to engage more with Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a news conference:
“Any administration in America that takes office should at least make two changes in its behavior, the first change is in the field of America’s interference ... The circle of interference should be limited to within American borders.”
“The second change is the approach of the American government toward Iran,” he said. “If there are real and fundamental changes I think it would be welcomed by nations.”
“But, if the previous behavior continues with a change of tactic and in a new package, the trend of the world’s affairs will stay on the past trend,” Ahmadinejad added.
The United States accuses Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons and President George W. Bush has spearheaded a drive to isolate Tehran internationally. Tehran denies the charge.
Obama, who takes office on January 20, has said he views Iran as a “genuine threat” but still favors initiating a dialogue.
He has said he would take a new approach emphasizing respect for the Iranian people and spelling out what Washington expects of its leaders.
Ahmadinejad said Iran would wait and see what the new administration’s approach would be. “We do not want to have a prejudgment. We will wait and we have a lot of patience,” he said.
Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian, Writing by Edmund Blair, editing by Mark Trevelyan