Iran General NewsUS must change policy if wants better ties with...

US must change policy if wants better ties with Iran: Iranian FM

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ImageAFP: Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Thursday ruled out any improvement in his country's ties with the United States unless Washington alters its foreign policy following the election of a new president next month.

ImageNEW YORK (AFP) — Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Thursday ruled out any improvement in his country's ties with the United States unless Washington alters its foreign policy following the election of a new president next month.

"Whatever candidate becomes the next president of the US, he will have no other option than to bring about new developments in American foreign policy," he told a symposium sponsored by the Asia Society here.

Speaking through an interpreter, he added that the next US president would have to try to "reach out to other countries around the world, including the countries in the Middle East."

"If such developments happen in the White House, in words and in deeds," Mottaki said Tehran would consider them.

"So like everybody else we have to wait and see what the new US policies (will be after next month's presidential election)," he added.

He also squarely blamed Washington for the dismal state of bilateral relations.

"The behavior shown by US officials in the past decades has not been encouraging, has not encouraged Iranian officials to work to improve relations," he noted.

"If serious changes come about with regard to such a behavior, we will certainly study the possibility," Mottaki said.

And he restated Tehran's view that the Iranian nuclear program is peaceful and not geared toward the production of nuclear weapons, pointing out that possession of weapons of mass destruction violates Islamic teachings.

US-Iranian ties were broken off in 1980 after Islamist students took US diplomats hostage at the embassy in Tehran.

Over the past years, Washington has taken a tougher line toward the Islamic Republic, accusing it of backing armed groups in Iraq, thwarting any Middle East settlement with its support for the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement and Lebanon's Shiite militia Hezbollah, and using its nuclear program as a cover to acquire nuclear arms.

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