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Iran's president urges policy changes by new U.S. administration

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday called on President-elect Barack Obama to change U.S. policy toward Iran and to end Washington's interference in the internal affairs of other countries.
TEHRAN, January 15 (RIA Novosti) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday called on President-elect Barack Obama to change U.S. policy toward Iran and to end Washington's interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

"Any administration in America that takes office should make two changes in its behavior," Ahmadinejad said. "First, stop interfering in other countries' business - interference should be limited to within the borders of the United States."

"Second, if the Americans really want to change the situation, they must change their approach to Iran," he said. "If there are fundamental changes, the Iranian people will welcome this."

But Ahmadinejad warned that if the changes were merely tactical, the United States would continue to have problems.

Obama has said that Iran would become "one of our most important issues," and that his administration would adopt a new policy toward Iran. The president-elect said that Washington needs to start cooperating with the Iranian government.

In response, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqawi said on Monday that "the Islamic Republic of Iran will undoubtedly take appropriate and timely steps depending on the actions of the new U.S. administration."

The United States accuses Iran of developing nuclear weapons, a claim denied by Tehran, which maintains its nuclear program is exclusively for the energy needs of the country.

Diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran were cut in 1979 when supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, holding 52 employees captive for 444 days.

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