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Clinton downplays cool Iranian response to Obama speech

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed the United States will continue to reach out to Iran despite its cool response to President Barack Obama’s overture. Clinton said the United States had long anticipated obstacles to engaging Iran but noted that many Iranians had reacted positively to Obama’s message last week.

world Updated: Mar 27, 2009 13:03 IST

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed the United States will continue to reach out to Iran despite its cool response to President Barack Obama’s overture.

During a visit to Mexico, Clinton said on Thursday the United States had long anticipated obstacles to engaging Iran but noted that many Iranians had reacted positively to Obama’s message last week. She also expressed hope that Iran could play a constructive role in Afghanistan.

Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani said on Wednesday that Obama’s “fine words” were not enough to repair the damage between Tehran and Washington, which cut diplomatic ties in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

In a video message marking the Iranian New Year, Obama on March 20 proposed an end to three decades of animosity in a departure from the tough line adopted by his predecessor George W Bush.

“We are doing what President Obama said we would do. We are reaching out to the Iranian leadership but equally importantly to the Iranian people,” Clinton said on the last day of her trip to Mexico.