Former Iranian president hopes Obama to be fair, rational

January 30th, 2009 - 9:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaTehran, Jan 30 (DPA) Iran expects new US President Barack Obama to adopt a fair and rational approach toward the Islamic state, former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani said here at a Friday prayer ceremony. “Repeating the policies by [former US president George W.] Bush would not solve anything, but the new administration should adopt a fair and rational approach towards Iran,” said Rafsanjani, who still plays an influential role in Iran’s political scene as head of the Experts Assembly, the country’s highest clerical body.

Referring to the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programmes, the moderate cleric said remarks from Washington such as all options, including a military option, were still on the table would not be the correct approach because such threats were part of Bush’s policies and had failed.

Although both Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have signalled interest in direct talks with Iran, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday that the president has not changed his viewpoint and that he would still reserve all options.

“Instead of clandestine promises, it would be better to present a clear position, especially on the nuclear issue,” Rafsanjani said.

The cleric once again reiterated that Iran was following its legitimate and internationally acknowledged right to pursue peaceful and civilian nuclear technology and that the Obama administration should “take a fair step” and not ignore this right.

Although direct talks would not be a guarantee of a settlement of the nuclear dispute, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Mohamed ElBaradei said Thursday that direct talks could at least lead to a compromise. Such an agreement could include Iran freezing its uranium enrichment work in return for the United Nations halting an expansion of financial sanctions.

Obama said Monday that “if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reacted Wednesday to Obama’s remark by saying that if the changes were truly serious and basic, then Iran would welcome them.

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