Iran reacted coolly Wednesday to the inauguration of Barack Obama, while some Arab leaders immediately urged the new American leader to dive into Mideast peace efforts.
In Iran, the government was waiting to see what practical steps Obama would take toward a country. Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, urged the new president to change American policies in the Middle East. For now, though, Iran would wait to see what "practical policies" Obama will adopt before making any judgment about his stance toward Iran, Mottaki said, according to the official IRNA news agency.
According to him, Obama needed to take action to correct a bad image of America in the world and to employ new advisers who would tell the "truth" about the Middle East. "A new Middle East is in the making," IRNA quoted Mottaki as saying. "The new generation in this region seeks justice and rejects domination. A change in Mideast policy is one of the areas ... if the new U.S. government claims to follow a policy of change."
In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak pressed Obama in a congratulatory cable to make the Middle East - in particular the Palestinians - a priority. "I would like to stress that the region has high hopes that your administration will deal with the Palestinian issue from its first day as an immediate priority and a key for solving other issues in the Middle East, which faces shaking crises," Mubarak wrote, according to the AP.