Picture thanks to Gail
TEHRAN, Iran â€” Iran’s president called Wednesday for “profound changes” in U.S. foreign policy including an end to support for Israel and an apology to the Islamic republic for past misdeeds.
Hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also urged Washington to withdraw its troops stationed around the world. He said Iran would be closely watching what President Barack Obama’s new administration does and would welcome a real shift in its approach.
“Change means giving up support for the rootless, uncivilized, fabricated, murdering … Zionists and letting the Palestinian nation decide its own destiny,” Ahmadinejad said. “Change means putting an end to U.S. military presence in (different parts of) the world.”
His comments come as Obama was reaching out to Muslims. He has stressed the importance of engaging Iran, a country the Bush administration often singled out as the most dangerous in the Middle East. In his inaugural address, Obama addressed leaders of hostile nations by saying “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”
Without mentioning Obama by name, Ahmadinejad repeatedly referred to those who want “change,” a buzzword of Obama’s election campaign.
“When they say ‘we want to bring changes’, change may happen in two ways: First is profound, fundamental and effective change … the second … is a change of tactics,” he told thousands of people in the western city of Kermanshah in a speech broadcast live on state television.
“We will wait patiently, listen to their words carefully, scrutinize their actions under a magnifier and if change happens truly and fundamentally, we will welcome that,” he added. “The change will be to apologize to the Iranian nation and try to compensate for their dark records and the crimes they have committed against the Iranian nation.”
Ahmadinejad cited the U.S.-backed coup that toppled the elected government of Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadegh in 1953, its support of the unpopular shah, its backing of Saddam Hussein during Iraq’s war with Iran in the 1980s and the downing of an Iranian airliner in 1988 by a U.S. naval ship.
In an interview with Al-Arabiya news channel that aired Tuesday, Obama condemned Iran’s threats to destroy Israel and its alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons, but added: “It is important for us to be willing to talk to Iran, to express very clearly where our differences are, but where there are potential avenues for progress.”
Later Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters the U.S. administration is undertaking a wide-ranging and comprehensive assessment of American foreign policy options toward Iran.
Clinton also said Iran had a “clear opportunity” to demonstrate some willingness to engage meaningfully with the international community.
Washington is at odds with Iran over its nuclear ambitions and its threats to destroy Israel as well as Tehran’s support of the militant groups Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories.
The U.S. broke off diplomatic relations with Iran after hardline students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979.
***** Â Â Â Obambi quick to oblige:
Obama administration drafting “conciliatory letter to Iran”
After all, that’s whatÂ Iran demands. Whereas the Bush administration was not willing to officially engage the Iranian theocracy in direct talks, at least not without certain preconditions, not only is the Obama administration preparing for direct communications (in a “conciliatory” manner), but now theÂ IraniansÂ are the ones insisting that the talks have preconditions — for theÂ U.S.Â to meet: Change is certainly here, folks.
“US drafts conciliatory letter to Iran,” from theÂ Jerusalem Post, January 29:
The Obama administration is preparing a letter to Iran intended toÂ warm relationsÂ and pave the way for direct talks between Washington and Teheran, The Guardian reported Thursday.Â
Work on the document reportedly began immediately following the November election, upon receipt of aletter of congratulationsÂ sent to the elected president by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The Jerusalem Post could not confirm this report.
Diplomats quoted by the paper said the letter, which has seen several drafts so far, wouldÂ aim to change the US tone towards Iran and offer a different stance on relations between the nations. In it, Obama would seek to assure Teheran that the US is not interested in toppling the Islamic regime, but only to see a change in its conduct.
One of the drafts reportedly calls on the Iranian leader to note the superior standards of living in neighboring countries and consider the advantages of lifting the Islamic Republic’s pariah status in the international community.
While its tone is described as conciliatory, the letter also calls on Iran to stop sponsoring terror.
The letter would either be sent to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, or released as an open letter.Â It is being considered by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as part of a general review of Washington’s policy on Iran.
All that said, what do you think Iran’s response will be? To hold hands with the U.S. and sing kumbaya? Read on:
On Wednesday a close aide to Ahmadinejad saidÂ Iran will not halt its nuclear activities as demanded by Obama’s administration.Â
“We have no non-peaceful activities to suspend. All our activities are peaceful and under the supervision of the IAEA,” Aliakbar Javanfekr told Reuters.
Surprise, suprise: while the Obama administration is preparing to dhimmify its “tone” — you know, since that’s what the whole Iran-nuclear-crisis is all about, Bush’s less than multi-culti, and all too assertive tone, which, as the story goes, has pushed a “hurt” Iran to defiantly continue enriching uranium — the Iranian theocracy does not appear willing to change its “tone,” or, more accurately,Â tune.
Javanfekr also dismissed UN resolutions demanding Iran suspend uranium enrichment. “We have passed that stage. We have rejected resolutions. Those resolutions were issued under US pressure. We work in the framework of international laws.”Â
“Obama should act realistically to avoid repeating [former US president George W.] Bush’s mistakes,” he added.
Three rounds of UN sanctions have been imposed on Iran but Javanfekr said they were “ineffective.”
Javanfekr also rejected Obama’s calls for Iran to “unclench its fist,” saying its was “illogical to talk about unclenching fists when Iran is surrounded by American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
Referring to the Obama administration’s suggestion of direct talks, Javanfekr said, “We are ready for talks with some preconditionsÂ … including ending America’s military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said andÂ repeated the demand for an apology.
Earlier Wednesday, Ahmadinejad called for “profound changes” in US foreign policy – including an end to support for Israel andÂ an apology to the Islamic republic for past misdeeds.
Ahmadinejad also urged Washington to withdraw its troops stationed around the world. He saidÂ Iran would be closely watching what President Barack Obama’s new administration does and would welcome a real shift in the US approach.
Pakistani jihadists “desecrated Bibles and a cross on the wall, destroyed hymnals, smashed windows, and dumped garbage on the church grounds”
Pakistani senate demands U.S. repatriate Al Qaeda terrorist to Pakistan
Raymond Ibrahim: Israel jeopardizes its existence if it trades land for “peace”
Gaza family describes how Hamas used them as human shields
Yemen, already an al-Qaeda destination, plans Saudi-style “rehab” for ex-Gitmo inmates
Somalia: Provisional capital now under sharia law
Taliban commander’s life mission: chase out “infidel Americans”
Obama administration drafting “conciliatory letter to Iran”
Muslim Lord cows House of Lords into submission for daring to want to invite Geert Wilders