TOKYO (AFP) – A special envoy of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged US President Barack Obama on Saturday to fully review his administration’s policies in the Middle East and respect Tehran’s nuclear programme.
“If President Obama wants to realise a change, he should stop support for Israel and withdraw from Iraq,” Samare Hashemi told Japan’s public broadcaster NHK while on a visit to the country.
He also said relations between Iran and the United States would improve if Washington “respects rights” held by Iran, including its nuclear programme, NHK said.
On Thursday, Hashemi handed Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso a letter from Ahmadinejad saying that Iran wants to build closer ties with Tokyo for peace and stability in the Middle East, including Gaza.
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.
Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, refused to engage in direct negotiations with Iran unless it first stopped enriching uranium, and spearheaded pressure for economic sanctions against the Islamic republic.