TEHRAN (AFP) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday that Tehran was waiting for a "fundamental change" of US policy under Washington's new administration headed by Barack Obama.
President-elect Obama said last week that Iran remained a threat to the United States but Washington must be "willing to initiate diplomacy" with the Islamic republic -- in contrast to the stand of outgoing President George W. Bush.
"If changes are fundamental, genuine and based on respect... we wait and see and do not make premature judgement," Ahmadinejad said in a press conference, broadcast live on state television.
He had been asked about Tehran's stance toward normalisation of ties with Washington.
"The first change we expect is that the United States should limit its interference (to) within its borders," he said. "They have been oppressing our people for 58 years now... they must change their attitude toward us."
The Iranian president also called the policy of carrot and stick an "outdated" one. "If it is the continuation of the wrong and arrogant policies, the result is predictable," he added.
Washington severed ties with Iran in 1980 in the wake of the Islamic revolution after Islamist students stormed the US embassy in Tehran and held 52 diplomats hostage for 444 days.
Bush's outgoing administration refused to engage in direct negotiations with Iran unless it first stopped enriching uranium, material which Washington fears could be used to build an atomic bomb.
Tehran says its nuclear programme is purely for peaceful purposes.
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