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Obama to GOP rivals: War in Iran "not a game" Washington and Tehran have had no diplomatic relations since the 1979 take

Sep 19th 2019, 1:57 am
Posted by bernardric
(CBS/AP) TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's top leader Thursday welcomed comments by President Barack Obama advocating diplomacy and not war as a solution to Tehran's nuclear ambitions, a rare positive signal in long-standing hostile transactions between Tehran and Washington.

The report on Iran's state television quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as praising a recent statement by the U.S. president saying he saw a "window of opportunity" to use diplomacy to resolve the nuclear dispute.

Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters in Iran, told a group of clerics: "This expression is a good word. This is a wise remark indicating taking distance from illusion."

It is one of the rare cases in which Iran's top leader praised an American leader.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said in response to Khamenei's comments that President Obama is not focused on what the Iranian regime says.

"The president's policy toward Iran is focused in a very clear-eyed way on Iranian behavior, certainly not on rhetoric of any kind," Carney said. "The pressure on Iran will continue. The ratcheting up of sanctions will continue, because the only change in that effort will come, if it comes, with a change in Iranian behavior with regards to its (nuclear) programs."

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