TEHERAN, Iran - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad congratulated U.S. President-elect Barack Obama Thursday on capturing the hearts and minds of the majority of American voters.
It was the first such well wishes toward an American president since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
In his remarks, quoted on IRNA, the Islamic Republic's state-controlled news agency, Ahmadinejad told Obama that the nations of the world expect him to change U.S. foreign policy.
"You are generally expected to make a fast and clear response to the demands for basic…change in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, which all people in the world and Americans want at the top of your agenda," he wrote. "Iranians will welcome such changes," Ahmadinejad said.
"They also want U.S. intervention to be limited to its borders, especially in the Middle East. It is highly expected to reverse the unfair attitude toward restoring the rights of the Palestinians, Iraqis and Afghans," the Iranian president said.
"We hope the U.S. government can fulfill its people's demand to distance itself from the present statesman's [outgoing President George Bush] wrong approaches," he wrote.
"You know the opportunities bestowed on people by Allah are short-lived," he said.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister and Kadima party head Tzipi Livni said Thursday that President-elect Obama's willingness to meet with Ahmadinejad could be perceived in the Middle East as weakness.
"We live in a neighborhood in which sometimes dialogue - in a situation in which you have brought sanctions and then you shift to dialogue - is likely to be interpreted as weakness," Livni told Israel Radio.
Asked if she supported U.S. dialogue with Iran, the foreign minister said, "The answer is no."
Sources: Haaretz, YNet news