Tehran: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad demanded on Thursday that world powers respect Iran and release its assets if they want to engage with Tehran, in an apparent reference to archfoe the United States.
"If our nation sees they have changed their behaviour, dropped their arrogant attitude ... and return Iranian nation's rights and assets the nation will accept that," Ahmadinejad said in a televised speech in the northern city of Tabriz.
"But if they are again after deception and plotting in the region our nation's response will be the same as it gave to these men's predecessors," he warned.
Hardline Ahmadinejad made the comments as US President Barack Obama warned of "consequences" after Iran dismissed a UN-brokered nuclear fuel deal aimed at defusing a long-running standoff with the West over Tehran's controversial atomic programme.
Obama has pursued a carrot-and-stick policy with Tehran, offering diplomatic engagement after three decades of severed ties and at the same time threatening tougher sanctions if Iran does not come clean over its atomic programme.
The United States froze Iranian government assets in 1979 when Islamist militants stormed the US embassy in Tehran, where they subsequently held more than 50 hostages for 444 days.
First Published: Thursday, November 19, 2009, 22:04