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Iran ready to hold talks with the US

IRAN is ready for talks with the United States based on "mutual respect" but wants real US policy change, its president said yesterday in his most measured remarks since US President Barack Obama took office.

Obama said on Monday that he saw the possibility of diplomatic openings with Iran in the months ahead, marking a break with his predecessor George W. Bush. The US and its Western allies accuse Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

Despite a new approach, Obama's administration has also warned Iran of tougher sanctions if it does not halt its disputed nuclear work.

"The new US administration has announced that they want to produce change and pursue the course of dialogue," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a rally which marked the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution that ousted the shah.

"It is quite clear that real change must be fundamental and not tactical ... The Iranian nation is ready to hold talks, but talks in a fair atmosphere with mutual respect," he added.


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