Reuters: A senior Iranian official called on U.S. President-elect Barack Obama Thursday to show goodwill and remove sanctions against the Islamic Republic, an Iranian news agency reported.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – A senior Iranian official called on U.S. President-elect Barack Obama Thursday to show goodwill and remove sanctions against the Islamic Republic, an Iranian news agency reported.
Obama has said he would harden sanctions but has also held out the possibility of direct talks with the United States to solve problems, including the dispute over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
"Through the lifting of the past government's cruel sanctions against Iran, Barack Obama can demonstrate his goodwill to the Iranian people," Prosecutor-General Ayatollah Qorban-Ali Dori-Najafabadi said.
"Calling for forgiveness and remorse for the past U.S. government's deeds by the new government can bring about the great Iranian nation's forgiveness," the Mehr News Agency quoted him as saying in the northwestern city of Tabriz.
The United States cut diplomatic ties with Iran after its Islamic Revolution in 1979 and is spearheading a drive to isolate the country over its nuclear activities.
The West believes Iran's nuclear enrichment program is intended to build atomic weapons, an allegation Tehran denies. Iran's defiance has led to three rounds of U.N. sanctions since 2006, as well as bilateral punitive measures by Washington.
Iranian officials have rejected world powers' demand that it halt uranium enrichment, a process that can have civilian and military uses, in exchange for trade and other benefits.
Obama, like current U.S. President George W. Bush, has not ruled out military action although he has criticised the outgoing administration for not pushing diplomacy and engagement with Iran.
Iranian officials have said his election victory Tuesday showed the American people's desire for fundamental change in domestic and foreign policy from the policies of Bush, who labeled Iran part of an "axis of evil."
The head of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy commission said any change in Iran's strategy toward Washington would depend on a change in the U.S. approach, the official IRNA news agency reported.
"As long as the U.S. policy toward Iran stays the way it currently is, negotiations with that country will have no meaning," Alaeddin Boroujerdi said in the city of Mashad.
(Reporting by Hashem Kalantari; writing by Fredrik Dahl; editing by Andrew Dobbie)