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Iran Says Wants Fundamental U.S. Policy Change

Aliakbar Javanfekr

Aliakbar Javanfekr

TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iran has welcomed an appeal by U.S. President Barack Obama for better relations, but said Washington should "realize its previous mistakes" and make an effort to correct them, an aide to the Iranian president has said.

Aliakbar Javanfekr, an aide to President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, said after Obama issued an unprecedented videotaped appeal to the Islamic republic, that the new U.S. president should fundamentally change Washington's policy toward Iran.

"We welcome the interest of the American government to settle differences [with Iran]. The American government should realize its previous mistakes and make an effort to amend them in order to put aside differences.”

"By fundamentally changing its behavior America can offer us a friendly hand. So far what we have received have been unfriendly fists," Javanfekr told Reuters.

"Unlimited sanctions, which still continue and have been renewed by the United States are wrong and need to be reviewed," he said.

Javanfekr also singled out U.S. backing for Israel, Iran's arch-foe: "Supporting Israel is not a friendly gesture and the New Year is an opportunity for the United States to change this policy."

He was referring to the Iranian New Year celebrations, which begin this afternoon.