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Iran slams U.S. policy on Middle East

Iran's foreign minister said Friday that failed U.S. policies in the Middle East were fueling hatred and resentment.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, in Sweden for a conference on Iraq, said his country believes American voters want changes to President Bush's foreign policy. Claudio Bresciani / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Iran's foreign minister said Friday that failed U.S. policies in the Middle East were fueling hatred and resentment, and he called for a change in American foreign policy after the presidential election.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Manouchehr Mottaki accused the Bush administration of wasting American taxpayers' money on policies that he said only serve to weaken U.S. influence in the region.

"These policies in the field of Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and generally speaking the Middle East are mistaken policies ... therefore, as a consequence, a kind of failed policies," Mottaki said through an interpreter at the Iranian Embassy in Stockholm.

The Bush administration has adopted a hard-line approach to Iran over Iraq, its nuclear program, its hostility toward Israel and allegations of its support for terrorist groups.

"The American people need change," Mottaki said. "The American statesmen and politicians are somehow spending the money out of the taxes of the American people to buy hatred and resentment of other people in other regions."

'Serious review'
Looking ahead to the U.S. election, he said the Bush administration's policies needed a "serious review" to prevent the U.S. standing in the Middle East from deteriorating.

"We don't want to make a problem for the American presidential candidates, but this election is among a limited number of American presidential elections where foreign policy will play a key role," Mottaki said.

On Thursday the minister said on the sidelines of a U.N. conference on Iraq that he did not have a favorite among the presidential candidates.

The conference brought together delegates from more than 90 countries and organizations, including U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, to review security and economic progress in Iraq. Rice and Mottaki ignored each other at the meeting.