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Ahmadinejad congratulates Obama, tells U.S. to butt out

by Brad A. Greenberg

November 6, 2008 | 1:34 pm

Photo: The Guardian

Despite all the ridiculous paranoia that he was a closet Muslim (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and legitimate concern about his desire to bring back diplomatic relations with Iran and against Omri Ceren’s warnings, Barack Obama received 78 percent of the Jewish vote. I’m sure at least a few are having buyer’s remorse this morning:

TEHRAN (AFP) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday congratulated US president-elect Barack Obama on his success—rare praise between two countries which are arch-foes, IRNA news agency reported.

“I congratulate you on being able to attract the majority of votes of the participants of the election,” Ahmadinejad said in a message to Obama carried by the official agency.

“You know the opportunities bestowed upon people by God are short-lived,” he said.

“I hope you make the most of the chance of service and leave a good name by preferring people’s real interests and justice to the insatiable demands of a selfish and indecent minority.”

“The great Iranian nation welcomes real, basic and fair changes in behaviour and policies, especially in this region,” Ahmadinejad said, referring to the Middle East.

“You are generally expected to make a fast and clear response to the demands for basic… change in US domestic and foreign policy, which all people in the world and Americans want on top of your agenda,” he told Obama.

The Iranian president said Obama is expected to replace US “militaristic policies, occupation… and the imposition of unfair and discriminatory relations with an attitude based on justice, respect for nations’ rights and non-interference.”

“The US government’s interference should be limited to that country’s geographical boundaries,” IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni made a public appeal today for Obama to not yet reopen dialogue with Iran.

On Tuesday, The Guardian also had a short article about what Iranians were hoping the outcome of the presidential election would be. Obama or John McCain, it sounds like they just want relations restored. Some also want the bomb. An excerpt after the jump:

Officially, there is little interest here in the outcome of the US election. Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader, has spoken of “deep-seated differences” between the two countries, apparently seeking to squash speculation about any sudden change, or at least ensuring that he will control it if there is.

“Obama and McCain have differences over tactics, not strategy,” argued Hamidreza Taraghi of the Islamic Coalition party, an Ahmadinejad ally. “Anyway they are both sponsored by the Zionists so we can’t expect they won’t be influenced by them.”

Jamal, a middle-aged driver, wanted to see John McCain in the White House because “he will attack Iran and set us free”. Yet he also wants Iran to develop nuclear weapons (the government insists, to widespread scepticism abroad, that its only motive in developing nuclear technology is to generate power). “We are threatened by the US and Israel. If the Jews have the atomic bomb, why shouldn’t we?”

Read the rest here.

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