Ahmadinejad congratulates Obama

Iranian leader calls for "real, fundamental and fair changes" from new US president.

    While campaigning, Barack Obama said he could hold direct talks with Tehran[AFP]

    Diplomatic ties between the two countries have largely been cut since the revolution removed the country's US-backed leader from power.

    During campaigning, Obama said if elected, he would consider holding direct talks with Iranian leaders over the country's nuclear programme, which Western powers have alleged is for developing weapons.

    'War-oriented' policies

    Ahmadinejad said in the statement published by Irna, Iran's official news agency, that he hoped Obama would put an end to the United States' "war-oriented" policies.

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    "Other nations expect war-oriented policies, occupation, bullying ... and imposing discriminatory policies on them to be replaced by those advocating respect ... and non-interference in other countries' state matters," he said.

    Obama has said he would be willing to toughen sanctions on Iran, and like George Bush, the current president, would not rule out military action against Tehran.

    Obama has said direct talks could be necessary to give those decisions greater credibility and criticised the outgoing administration for not pushing for more diplomacy and engagement with Tehran.

    On Thursday,  the Bush administration further
    restricted Iran's access to the US financial system by banning certain types of fund transfers, the US treasury department said.

    Ayatollah Qorban-Ali Dori- Najafabadi, Iran's prosecutor-general, on Thursday called on Obama to remove international sanctions imposed on it.

    Speaking to Mehr news agency, he said that "through the lifting of the past government's cruel sanctions against Iran, Barack Obama can demonstrate his goodwill to the Iranian people".

    Israeli caution

    The UN has imposed three rounds of sanctions since 2006, in addition to bilateral measures by Washington, over Iran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment - a process that can have either civilian or military uses.

    Tzipi Livni, Israel's foreign minister and leader of the ruling Kadima party, warned Obama against rushing into any engagement with Tehran.

    "Dialogue at this time is liable to broadcast weakness," she said in Jerusalem on Thursday.

    Israeli officials have describe Iran as the biggest threat to its existence.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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