For Iran, Change Means Having to Say You're Sorry

Ahmadinejad demands Obama apologize for American 'crimes'
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2009 7:39 AM CST
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad waves to the media as he attends the emergency Arab leaders summit on Gaza in Doha, Qatar, Friday, Jan. 16, 2009.    (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
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(Newser) – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has responded to President Obama's offers of a new start for US-Iranian diplomacy with a demand—that the US "apologize to the Iranian people and try to repair their past crimes." The Iranian president delivered a tirade against the United States at a rally today, condemning its support for Israel and saying the country "stood against the Iranian people in the last 60 years," the BBC reports.

In an interview with al-Arabiya on Monday, Obama repeated his inaugural promise that he would soften the American line on Iran if it "unclenched its fist." His UN ambassdor, Susan Rice, said this week that she looked forward to "vigorous diplomacy that includes direct diplomacy with Iran." While Ahmadinejad has given short shrift to Obama's overtures, he may be playing to the electorate; the president faces an uphill battle for reelection this June.