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Iran welcomes US comment on multilateralism

world Updated: Feb 10, 2009 11:19 IST

AP
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Iran's parliamentary speaker praised the new US administration's embrace of multilateralism on Monday, a Spanish official said.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero conferred with Ali Larijani in a 40-minute session that also touched on the international financial crisis, the recent fighting in Gaza and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Spanish official said Larijani welcomed a statement by US Vice President Joe Biden at a weekend security conference in Munich, Germany, that President Barack Obama will work with allies to solve global problems, rather than follow the unilateral approach of which the Bush administration was accused.

The official briefed The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, in line with government rules.

Larijani said he was pleased with the change in administrations in the United States, and Zapatero told him it would be good for Iran to give the US "a margin of trust," the Spanish official said.

The official said she had no word on whether Monday's meeting addressed Iran's nuclear program, which the West suspects is designed to create nuclear weapons.

In his speech on Saturday, Biden said that, among other initiatives Washington was prepared to talk with Iran rather than browbeat it. But he warned that the US stands ready to take pre-emptive action if Iran does not abandon nuclear ambitions and support for terrorism.

At the gathering, Larijani spoke of a "golden opportunity for the United States" _ suggesting the US needed to change "to a chess game instead of a boxing match."