Iran's Presidential Hopeful to Thaw Ties with U.S.

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"We are ready to comprehensively solve our problems regarding the United States with a motto of change for change."

Reformist presidential hopeful Mehdi Karroubi aims to improve ties with Washington, a top aide said on Thursday, although Iran's supreme ruler urged voters to shun pro-West candidates in next month's election.

If Karroubi wins the June 12 poll, he will work to iron out chronic issues with Washington in a bid to ease economic sanctions imposed on Iran over its controversial nuclear plan, Mohammad Ali Najafi told reporters.

"We are ready to comprehensively solve our problems regarding the United States with a motto of change for change," said Najafi, a key member of Karroubi's economic team.

"Boosting foreign investment and helping private sector to use foreign partners' money, technology and management is a priority in our plans," he told a news conference.

"We have some problems with the world and half of which are because of the sanctions," Najafi said referring to the three sets of sanctions adopted by the United Nations against Iran.

Despite being OPEC's number-two oil exporter, Iran's economy has deteriorated under the Ahmadinejad's administration.

Critics believe that [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad's economic policies, as well as his anti-West stance, are to blame for high inflation and unemployment in Iran.

U.S. President Barack Obama has proposed dialogue with Tehran after three decades of severed ties and has said he would assess whether Iran was serious about nuclear talks by the end of this year.

The U.S., Israel and European powers fear the uranium enrichment program is aimed at producing a nuclear weapon. Iran denies the charge, saying it is only for peaceful nuclear energy.

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