Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ahmadinejad asks Obama not to interfere in Iran

Tehran: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on Barack Obama on Thursday not to interfere in Iran's internal affairs after the US president said he was "appalled and outraged" by post-election violence.

Iran's tough security crackdown after its disputed June 12 presidential election has led Obama to ramp up his previously muted criticism of the Islamic Republic.

"Mr Obama made a mistake to say those things...our question is why he fell into this trap and said things that previously former US President George W. Bush used to say," the semi-official Fars News Agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

"Do you want to speak with Iran with this tone? If that is your stance then what is left to talk about," said Ahmadinejad, who won the election by a landslide according to official results. His moderate opponents say the vote was rigged.



The turmoil in Iran has dimmed prospects for Obama's engagement with Tehran over its nuclear programme, with Ahmadinejad's government blaming Britain and the United States for fomenting violence.

"I hope you avoid interfering in Iran's affairs and express your regret in a way that the Iranian nation is informed of it," Ahmadinejad said.

He was speaking in the port town of Assaluyeh, where he was inaugurating a petrochemical plant.

Since taking office Obama has made diplomatic overtures towards Iran, after three decades of severed ties and a standoff over Tehran's nuclear drive.

But as the unrest has mounted in Iran over the disputed presidential election that returned Ahmadinejad to power, Obama has been increasingly critical of the vote and the crackdown on opposition protesters.

In his most recent comments, Obama said there were significant questions about the election results and that he "appalled and outraged" by the violent suppression of the protests.

The Washington Times reported on Wednesday that Obama's administration wrote to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei before the election offering to improve relations.

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