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President Ahmadinejad of Iran has adopted a hardline stance in response to diplomatic overtures from the Obama Administration, insisting today that the US President needed to show a "fundamental” change in policy if he wants to improve relations with Iran.
Reacting to President Obama's call for the Iranians to "unclench their fist", Mr Ahmadinejad called for the United States to apologise to the Iranian people "and try to repair their past bad acts and the crimes they committed against Iran".
“We welcome change but on condition that change is fundamental and on the right track,” Mr Ahmadinejad told a rally in western Iran broadcast live on state television.
“When they say ’we want to make changes’, change can happen in two ways. First is a fundamental and effective change... The second ... is a change of tactics. It is very clear that, if the meaning of change is the second one, this will soon be revealed."
He added: “If someone wants to talk with us in the language that (President) Bush used ... even if he uses new words, our response will be the same that we gave to Bush during the past years."
The new Administration has said that Mr Obama will be breaking from his predecessor by pursuing direct talks with Tehran, while threatening to increase diplomatic pressure if it refuses to accept a UN Security Council demand to halt its disputed nuclear work.
In an interview on Monday with al-Arabiya television - his first with any major network since becoming president, Mr Obama promised to lay a framework for his policy towards Iran.
“As I said in my inauguration speech, if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us," he said. “It is very important for us to make sure that we are using all the tools of US power, including diplomacy, in our relationship with Iran."
Also on Monday, Washington’s UN Ambassador, Susan Rice, pledged “direct” support to Tehran if it halts the nuclear programme.
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States – plus Germany have offered Tehran economic and energy incentives in exchange for halting its uranium enrichment programme. But Tehran is pressing on with the work, insisting that its nuclear programme is peaceful and solely geared toward electricity generation.
As proof of the desire for change, Mr Ahmadinejad said that the US should withdraw its troops from conflict zones around the world and “stop supporting the Zionists, outlaws and criminals."
Originally posted by jerico65
Ahmadinejad needs a boogyman. Bush fit the bill for him.