Addressing thousands of people in the western city of Kermanshah, Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran would would welcome a real and fundamental shift from the new American administration.  

In a speech broadcast on state television, Iran's hard-liner leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had a message for America.  He said he is willing to open the channels of communication, if there is real change in U.S. foreign policy.

"We will wait patiently, listen to their words carefully, scrutinize their actions under a magnifier and if change happens truly and fundamentally, we will welcome that," he said. 

Iran wants US to apologize for misdeeds

But the Iranian leader criticized the United States, saying it should apologize to Iran for past misdeeds and called for Washington to withdraw its troops from around the world and stop supporting Israel.

President Barack Obama has condemned Iran's threats to destroy Israel, but said it is important to be willing to talk to Iran.  

The United States severed diplomatic relations with Iran in 1980,  five months after hard-line students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took its staff hostage during the 1979 revolution.  The hostages were held more than a year.

Bush referred to Iran as 'Axis of Evil'

Former U.S. President George W. Bush took a firm stance with Iran, referring to it as an Axis of Evil in his 2002 State of the Union Address and criticized Iran over its nuclear program, saying it is designed to develop nuclear weapons.  Iran has always denied this, stating it is a civil program for producing nuclear energy.

Ahmad Al-Gurashi is the news editor with Arabic satellite station MBC News.  He said he believes diplomacy with Iran is the only way forward.

"Iran, a country with a radical regime.  You have to be patient, you have to be diplomatic.  Now, Barack Obama has got the abilities and he knows he can go for it and he can get the solution, why not?  He is capable of managing Iran," he said.

Obama reaches out to Iran

President Obama has been reaching out to Iran.  In an interview Tuesday with the Arabic broadcaster, al-Arabiya, he sent a message of diplomacy.

"If countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us," he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday the U.S. administration is undertaking a wide-ranging and comprehensive survey of U.S. foreign policy options toward Iran.  She said Iran has a "clear opportunity" to demonstrate some willingness to engage meaningfully with the international community.

Any decisions in Iran's policies require the approval of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's highest authority.