AFP: Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani on Saturday said the United States must stop "boxing" with Iran and adopt itself to a game of "chess" with the Islamic republic, local news agencies reported.
TEHRAN (AFP) — Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani on Saturday said the United States must stop "boxing" with Iran and adopt itself to a game of "chess" with the Islamic republic, local news agencies reported.
Speaking to a group of Greek reporters in Tehran, Larijani said the policies of Washington with Iran and the Middle East in general had harmed the region as well the United States.
"The problems between Iran and the United states are not emotional and could not be resolved just by speeches. They need action," Larijani was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency.
"In the past the United States has violated Iranian rights. It has to change its attitude regarding the Iranian people. The United States has to play chess, not box."
Washington and Tehran have had turbulent relations for three decades since the Islamic revolution in Iran toppled the US-backed shah in 1979.
The tension between the arch-foes further rose in the past few years following Iran's controversial nuclear programme, which the West suspects is aimed at acquiring atomic weapons.
Tehran denies the charge, saying the programme is purely for peaceful purposes.
On Friday, new US intelligence chief Dennis Blair said it is not known whether Iran intends to develop nuclear weapons, but that he believes Tehran is keeping the option open.
Blair said US intelligence assesses that Iran has not restarted nuclear weapons design that it halted in late 2003.
That assessment essentially reaffirmed a 2007 intelligence report that was widely seen as a setback to international efforts to put pressure on Iran to abandon its nuclear programme.
Larijani, meanwhile, also said that what was happening in the Middle East was damaging even the United States.
"What is happening in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine is against the interests of the people of the region and itself (United States)," he said.
Iran has been a vocal supporter of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement and also funds Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
Tehran and Washington have shown tentative signs of policy shift after US President Barack Obama said his administration would in coming months be prepared to hold "face-to-face" talks with Iran.
Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad respondend on February 10 in a speech marking the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, saying Tehran was prepared to talk with Washington based on mutual respect and equality.
Larijani also dismissed questions regarding the Holocaust.
"There are different point of views and visions in the world regarding this question. But we are not concerned with this issue," he said.
"We are not sensitive about it. This event or accident, if has happened, we regret it. If not then there has to be free discussions about it."
Iran does not recognise Israel and Ahmadinjed in particular has faced global outrage for saying that the Holocaust was a "myth."