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Iranian Parliamentary Speaker Tells US to Change Approach to Improve Relations

A top Iranian official said the United States should change its approach if it wants to improve relations with Tehran.

Iranian state media report Iranian Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani has compared the current U.S. diplomatic approach to a boxing match when a game of chess would be preferred.

Larijani commented to visiting Greek journalists Saturday that the differences between the U.S. and Iran are not emotional problems, and must be resolved with actions rather than speeches.

Earlier this week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tehran was ready for talks with Washington in an atmosphere of "mutual respect."

Washington suspects Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons, and it is looking for ways to persuade Tehran to stop enriching uranium, a key element in nuclear bombs. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful, civilian purposes.

The United States and Iran severed ties 30 years ago but Washington has held several rounds of talks with Iranian officials about security in Iraq.

Tehran opposes a U.S.-Iraqi security agreement allowing American troops to remain in Iraq through 2011. Iran says the deal undermines Iraqi sovereignty.

The U.S. Defense Department issued a report last month accusing Iran of hosting, training, funding, arming and directing militant groups intent on destabilizing Iraq.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.