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Obama's speech: A boost to moderates in Iran's election?

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TEHRAN, IRAN – President Barack Obama’s recognition that “no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust” will apply in Iran, where leaders have called for deeds from Washington – and not just words – to ease 30 years of hostility.

As Iranians prepare to vote in June 12 presidential elections, Mr. Obama’s pledge that America was “ready to move forward” with “courage, rectitude, and resolve” will be welcome in Tehran, despite a host of US concerns that include Iran’s nuclear program and opposition to the Israel-Palestine peace process.

“I think the leader has accepted the principle of US talks, but he does not want to get caught in a bind,” says a political analyst in Tehran, referring to Iran’s supreme religious leader Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei. “We all know it’s going to happen soon after the election.”

Obama made no mention of Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group that Washington considers a terrorist organization. But he said “when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point” that could “lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path.”


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