Iran's Salehi hopes Kerry will soften US policy over Teheran

TEHRAN (AFP) - Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi wished success to his new American counterpart John Kerry on Friday, and expressed the hope that he will manage to soften "anti-Iranian" US policy.

Salehi said the former presidential candidate and senator was a known figure in the US foreign policy field and has good knowledge of current events in the Middle East.

"I hope that, thanks to his personal characteristics, he will be able to change part of the anti-Iran approach and policy of the American government," Salehi said in remarks to the Fars news agency.

"Whatever the case, I wish for him a good grasp of truth and reality in this difficult mission and... success." Salehi added that he was awaiting the outcome of "other nominations in the American government to see if President Barack Obama... wants to carry out his promises to change US foreign policy, particularly its policy of hostility toward the Iranian people." Iran and the United States have not had diplomatic relations in 30 years.

Washington is at the forefront of international efforts to force Tehran to stop enriching uranium, which the United States and other countries believe is part of a secret plan to develop nuclear weapons.

Tehran insists that its atomic energy programme is purely peaceful.

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