17 Jul 2009

Tougher approach being taken by Tehran

7:05 am on 17 July 2009

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran says his new government will bring down global arrogance.

The announcement signals a tougher approach by Tehran towards the West after the election on 12 June, which was disputed by opponents.

In his first provincial trip since the vote vote, President Ahmadinejad said on Thursday that Iran's enemies have tried to interfere and foment aggression.

He was referring to opposition protests against the official election result. The BBC reports some 17 people are thought to have died during days of clashes.

The president said Iran wants logic and negotiations and that Western powers have insulted the nation and should apologise.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a foreign policy speech in Washington on Wednesday, that Iran must respond to overtures by President Barack Obama now.

She also said the United States admired the energy of Iran's recent presidential election, but was appalled by the way the government quelled protests over the disputed ballot.

Mrs Clinton also warned Iran could face greater isolation over its nuclear programme.

Meanwhile, Iranian media report the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, an ally of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has stepped down from the post after 12 years.