Iran, Hamas welcome Obama presidency

Leaders of Iran and Hamas expressed hope that Barack Obama would usher in a new era of relations between the United States and the Islamic world.

In Gaza, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar sounded a hopeful note. "We hope, we hope, that Obama opens a new page with the world, including the Muslim world," Zahar said, according to Ha’aretz.

Zahar added that Israeli influence on U.S. policy made it unlikely Obama would talk to Hamas, at least initially.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Friday the world was expecting major changes in U.S. policy. He also made comments reminiscent of the claim he made in his September speech to the United Nations that a Zionist minority controls the levers of global power.

"I hope that you prefer people’s interests and justice to the rapacious demands of a selfish minority, make the best use of the chance and leave a good name," he said in comments directed at the U.S. president-elect, according to the the Iranian news site ISNA.

According to The New York Times, Ahmadinejad also sent a leter to Obama, the first time since the Iranian revolution that a leader of the Islamic Republic has issued congratulations to an American president-elect.

“People in the world expect war-oriented policies, occupation, bullying, deception and intimidation of nations and imposing discriminatory policies on them and international affairs, which have evoked hatred toward American leaders, to be replaced by ones advocating justice, respect for human rights, friendship and noninterference in other countries’ affairs,” the letter said, according to the Times.

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