Khatami Urges US to Review Policies Towards Tehran
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, just three days before the presidential polls in which he seeks re-election, asked on Tuesday the US government to bring "fundamental changes" to its policies toward the Islamic republic before a resumption of Tehran-Washington ties could be debated.
Khatami also touched on US support for Israel, another issue which has strained interaction between the two nations and one over which Iran has grown increasingly critical during the recent violence in the Middle East, said the official Iranian news agency (IRNA).
"As long as American statesmen are under the influence of certain lobbies and continue to undermine the interests of their own nation and companies and economy, it is very clear that they have to revise their policies," Khatami said, quoted by the agency.
Khatami conditioned a Tehran-Washington rapprochement on the US government giving up its "baseless and repeated allegations" against Iran.
"If a precondition has to be set in Iran-America relations, then that should be put forward by a country which has been oppressed, not by a country whose policies have caused damage to the Iranian people," he said.
Iran has repeatedly insisted it would welcome the return of US companies, particularly in its lucrative oil sector, which is in need of technological modernization, and that Washington's attitude was hurting US firms.
But 1996 US legislation calls for punitive measures against US firms that make substantial investments in the petrochemical industries of Iran and Libya, two nations the US blames for backing international terrorism.
It is due to expire in August, but President George W. Bush said in April he had "no intention as of this moment of lifting sanctions on countries like Iran or Libya."
US Secretary of State Colin Powell said last month that, along with neighboring Iraq, Iran was a "dangerous" nation "out of step with the way the world is going.
"I think that Iran is a nation that has an enormous treasure, educated population, has all the potential to enter the international marketplace, the international world, to be successful," Powell said – Albawaba.com
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