Iran criticized US president-elect Barack Obama for the first time on Saturday, with the country’s parliament speaker saying the world doesn’t need cosmetic changes in US foreign policy but fundamental ones.
The criticism followed Obama’s remarks in Chicago on Friday that it was “unacceptable” for Tehran to develop nuclear weapons and that he would mount an international effort to prevent it.
Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said Obama was going in the wrong direction with such comments.
“Obama can understand that strategic changes in [US] policy are required, not just cosmetic changes,” Larijani told state television.
Iranians initially welcomed Obama’s victory in the US presidential elections as a triumph over the unpopular policies of US President George W. Bush.
Hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad congratulated Obama on his win on Thursday — the first time an Iranian leader has offered such wishes to a US president-elect since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Asked about Iran at his first news conference on Friday, Obama said he will move deliberately on how to respond to Iran and what the response might be, but that he won’t do it in a “knee-jerk fashion.”
“This is a step in the wrong direction,” Larijani said. “If Americans want to change their situation in the region, they need to send good signals.”
Meanwhile, Iran’s state radio said that Obama’s call on Friday on international pressure to prevent the Persian country from developing nuclear arms was a mere replay of Bush’s hard-line stance toward Tehran.
The US and some of its allies accuse Iran of seeking to build a nuclear weapon — a claim Iran denies.