TEXT-Iranian official's response to Obama appeal

TEHRAN, March 20 Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:42am GMT

TEHRAN, March 20 (Reuters) - Following is the text of a senior Iranian official's reaction to U.S. President Barack Obama's videotaped appeal to Iran offering a "new beginning" of diplomatic engagement between the two old foes.

Aliakbar Javanfekr, an aide to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking to Reuters:

"We welcome the interest of the American government to settle differences. The American government should realise its previous mistakes and make an effort to amend them in order to put aside differences.

The Obama administration so far has just talked. By words and talking the ... problems between Iran and America can not be solved.

Nowruz (the Iranian New Year which falls on Friday) is a sign of fundamental development in nature and Obama should learn from this to make fundamental changes in his policy towards Iran.

Supporting Israel is not a friendly gesture and the new year is an opportunity for the United States to change this policy.

By fundamentally changing its behaviour America can offer us a friendly hand. So far what we have received have been unfriendly fists. Unlimited sanctions which still continue and have been renewed by the United States are wrong and need to be reviewed.

The Iranian nation has shown that it can forget hasty behaviour but we are awaiting practical steps by the United States. (Reporting by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Richard Williams)

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