Iran’s president welcomes dialogue with the US provided that the tone for change in the new administration is not just a tactical one.
“The new US administration has announced that they would bring about change and that they want to hold dialogue,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a rally celebrating the 30th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution on Tuesday.
“This change must be fundamental, not a mere tactical move,” he continued. “The Iranian nation is ready to hold talks but talks in a climate of fairness with mutual respect.”
The remarks came amid wild talks of negotiations between Iran and the United States after a nearly-30-year diplomatic freeze in the aftermath of the US embassy takeover in Tehran.
US President Barack Obama said in his first White House news conference on Monday that he saw the possibility of diplomatic openings with Iran in the months ahead where both sides “can start sitting across the table, face to face.”
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The new US president had earlier told the Arabic-language television station Al Arabiya that, “if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us.”
President Obama’s new tone for trying to engage Tehran has drawn a sharp line between his foreign policies regarding Iran and that of his predecessor George W. Bush.
Under former US president George W. Bush, Washington pursued a carrot-and-stick policy toward Tehran over its nuclear program and by setting preconditions it snubbed calls by Ahmadinejad for talks on the long-standing dispute.
Earlier in 2006, the Iranian president wrote an 18-page letter to President Bush that touched on religious values, history and international relations. The letter was widely viewed as an offer extended to the United States for dialogue.
Earlier in January, President Ahmadinejad asked the new US administration to apologize for the “crimes they have committed against the Iranian nation” before any change in relations can occur.
He was referring to various US plots hatched against the democratic process in Iran both before and after the Islamic Revolution.
One incident that has been the cause of serious tensions was an Eisenhower administration plot that overthrew the democratically-elected government of the then prime minister Mohammed Mosaddeq in order to re-establish control over Iranian oil in 1953.
Referring to the same incident, Mohamed ElBaradei, the director-general of the UN nuclear watchdog, who has been helping to resolve Iran’s nuclear dispute with the West, said Tehran and Washington have reached a point that they “need to reconcile their grievances”.
President Ahmadinejad also went on to advise President Obama to avoid pursuing the policies of the former US president, who refused to rule out a military option against Iran over its enrichment program.
“The world does not want the dark era of Mr. Bush to repeat. If certain people seek to dominate the world they should know that they will face a much worse fate than that of Mr. Bush,” Ahmadinejad said.