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Iran: Change Under Obama Would Be 'Happy News'

Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki
BAGHDAD (Reuters) -- A change in U.S. foreign policy under President Barack Obama would be "happy news," the foreign minister of arch-foe Iran has said.

"We look positively on the slogan that Obama raised in the elections. The world has really changed," Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said through an Arabic interpreter at a news conference during a visit to neighbouring Iraq. "If the American administration wants to keep up with the changes, this will be happy news."

Mottaki's remarks were the latest in a series of recent comments from Iranian leaders hinting at prospects of a thaw with a country that has been an arch enemy for nearly 30 years.

"We think these changes will provide good opportunities for the American administration in its relations with the countries of the world," Mottaki added. "As diplomats, we are destined to be optimistic, and we wish this would come true."

Obama has said he is willing to start talks with Iran, which the United States and its Western allies accuse of supporting terrorism, meddling in Iraq and seeking nuclear weapons, all charges Tehran denies.

On February 10, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said Iran was ready to hold talks "in a fair atmosphere with mutual respect."