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"will emphasize respect for the Iranian people"
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran called on U.S. President-elect Barack Obama on Monday not to repeat what it said were false accusations leveled against the Islamic Republic by the outgoing administration in Washington.
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.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman also suggested Tehran would respond in an "appropriate and timely" way to any change in U.S. behavior toward the country, which is embroiled in a row with the West over its disputed nuclear plans.
"We have to see whether or not this change in orientation (by Obama) is in practice and whether it will bring about fundamental change in the behavior and stance of America in relation to Iran," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi told a news conference.
He said Obama should not "repeat past statements and instances whose falsehood has been demonstrated by Iran," a reference to U.S. accusations about Tehran's nuclear plans and other issues -- although he did not mention specific charges.
"This is a very important point and undoubtedly Iran will undertake an appropriate and timely measure proportionate with the new U.S. behavior and action," Qashqavi said.
"Iran is going to be one of our biggest challenges," Obama said in an interview with ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
Hillary Clinton will Tuesday put diplomacy at the forefront of US foreign policy and stress "smart power" in her bid for confirmation as president-elect Barack Obama's secretary of state, aides said.
When she goes before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, an aide said, the New York senator will also promise a renewal of American leadership-perceived to have declined with US troops bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"She will reiterate that she and the president-elect believe that America must be smarter to be stronger," an official on the Obama transition team said on the condition of anonymity.