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Israel Warns Obama About Iran Talks

Israel's foreign minister says any U.S. talks with Iran may be seen as a sign of weakness.

Speaking on Israeli radio Thursday, Tzipi Livni offered her government's first official note of caution over Barack Obama's election as U.S. president. Mr. Obama said during the campaign he would be willing to hold talks with Iranian leaders.

Livni argues that dialogue at a time when, she says, Iran thinks the world has given up on sanctions, could be "problematic." She says she thinks President-elect Obama will not accept a nuclear Iran.

The outgoing U.S. administration of U.S. President George Bush has sought further sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, but has been blocked by Russia, among others.

In a highly unusual move, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - one of Washington's harshest critics - congratulated Mr. Obama on his victory. He said he hopes the U.S. president-elect will change American policy, which he described as arrogant.

Iran is under three sets of international sanctions. It has been accused by several Western countries of seeking nuclear weapons. Tehran says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.

Israel, while never acknowledging a nuclear arsenal, is widely believed to hold the only such weapons in the Middle East. The government fears it could be the target of an attack by strongly anti-Israeli Iran.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.