Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said President Barack Obama must choose between Israel and Iran. The comment was made Tuesday in Istanbul during an economic address before the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference.

"The support of both Israel and Iran can't go hand in hand. No change is made unless great choices are made," said Ahmadinejad. "We will clasp any hand that is extended sincerely toward us, but changes should be made in practice."

During a briefing at the Middle East Institute in Washington, Undersecretary of State William Burns responded to the remarks: "We seek a relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran based upon mutual interest and mutual respect. We do not seek regime change. We have condemned terrorist attacks against Iran.

Burns said he recognizes "Iran's international right to peaceful nuclear power." He said the U.S. and its international partners are prepared to have serious discussions with Iran about "how it can resolve longstanding doubts about the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear ambitions ... reinforced by the recent revelation of a clandestine enrichment facility near Qom."

"We are ready to move with Iran along a pathway of cooperation, not confrontation, of integration, not animosity," he explained. "But it depends squarely on the choices that Iran makes, on its willingness to meet its international obligations and responsibilities."

[Source: International Christian Embassy Jerusalem; icej.org]

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