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MID: Iran's Ahmadinejad congratulates Obama on US presidency

07 Nov 2008 3:04 AM

TEHRAN, Nov 6 AFP - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today congratulated President-elect Barack Obama on his success -- rare praise between the two countries which are arch foes, state agency IRNA reported.

"I congratulate you on being able to attract the majority of votes of the participants of the election," Ahmadinejad said in a message to Obama carried by IRNA.

"You know the opportunities bestowed upon people by God are short-lived," he said.

"I hope you make the most of the chance of service and leave a good name bypreferring people's real interests and justice to the insatiable demands of a selfish and indecent minority."

Iran and the United States have had no diplomatic relations for nearly three decades since Islamist students took American diplomats hostage for 444 days following the 1979 Islamic revolution which toppled the US-backed shah.

Hostility has since deepened, with the late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini branding the United States the "Great Satan" while President George W Bush denounced Iran as part of an "axis of evil".

AFP cmc =0A