Sun, Feb 08, 2009 - Page 6 News List

Iran urges White House to admit wrongs

‘CARROT AND STICK POLICY’: Ali Larijani, Tehran’s former chief nuclear negotiator, delivered a blistering condemnation of what he described as failed and evil US actions

AGENCIES , MUNICH, GERMANY

Iran dismissed decades of US policies targeting Tehran and declared on Friday that the new US administration had to admit past wrongs before it could hope for reconciliation.

The comments by Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani at an international security conference in Munich appeared to be the most detailed outline yet of Tehran’s expectations from US President Barack Obama’s administration.

“The old carrot and stick policy must be discarded,” he said, alluding to Western threats and offers of rewards to coax Iran to give up nuclear activities. “This is a golden opportunity for the United States.”

Obama has said the US is ready for direct talks with Iran in efforts to overcome concerns that its nuclear program could be used to develop atomic weapons.

Tehran denies that and insists its aims are peaceful.

The former US administration refused one-on-one negotiations with Tehran on the issue unless it made significant concessions.

Senior Iranian officials have cautiously welcomed the new US proposal.

But on Friday, Larijani, his country’s former chief nuclear negotiator, delivered a blistering condemnation of what he described as failed and evil US actions against his country and in the region.

“In the past years, the US has burned many bridges, but the new White House can rebuild them” if it “accepts its mistakes and changes its policies,” Larijani said.

Washington “has tried to sabotage any diplomatic solution” on the nuclear standoff, he said.

Without US acknowledgment of failure and wrongdoing, “do you expect this pain to go away?” he asked.

Larijani also said, however, that Obama’s decision to send an envoy to the Middle East to sound out countries in the region was a “positive signal.”

“The US president has announced he will send someone to the Middle East to listen to people and not to dictate,” Larijani told the annual Munich Security Conference.

“This approach is a positive signal,” Larijani said.

Obama has named former US senator George Mitchell as his envoy to the Middle East.

Richard Holbrooke has been named special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Obama has vowed a strong push to secure peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

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