Iran to US: We're Ready for Talks With 'Respect'

Ahmadinejad responds to US calls for change
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 10, 2009 8:01 AM CST
Escorted by his bodyguards, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, center right, greets well wishers from his car, at a rally commemorating the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution today.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – As the Obama administration tries to overcome years of bad blood with Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today said his country is ready for talks “based on mutual respect and in a fair atmosphere,” the New York Times reports. “The new US administration has said that it wants change,” said Ahmadinejad. “It is clear that change should be fundamental, not tactical, and our people welcome real changes.”

But he also called for President Bush to be “tried and punished” for his Mideast policy, noting that “if you really want to uproot terrorism, let’s cooperate to find the initiators of the recent wars in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf region.” He spoke at a televised rally on the 30th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, which led to the end of diplomatic relations between the US and Iran.