Iran Slams Obama's Tough Language on Nuclear Arms

Islamic Republic says Obama's call for stopping nuke program is a step in the wrong direction.

Iran's parliament speaker says that Barack Obama is stepping in the wrong direction after the U.S president-elect said it was unacceptable for Tehran to develop nuclear weapons.

The official, Ali Larijani, was quoted Saturday on Iran's state-run news agency, IRNA.

"This is a step in the wrong direction," said Larijani. "If Americans want to change their situation in the region, they need to send good signals."

Meanwhile, Iran's state radio says that Obama's call for preventing the Persian country from developing nuclear arms will cast doubt and disappoint Iranian expectations of changes in the U.S. foreign policy with the new administration.

Iran denies U.S. charges that it is seeking to build a bomb, saying its nuclear program is geared only toward generating electricity.

"Iran's development of a nuclear weapon, I believe, is unacceptable and we have to mount an international effort to prevent that from happening," Obama said Friday, in his first press conference as U.S. president-elect.

Obama made the comments on Iran in response to a journalist's question on what approach he might take with Tehran, given the drawn-out dispute between the United States and Iran over its nuclear program.

He also said Iran's support of terrorist organizations was "something that has to cease."

Obama confirmed that he had received a letter of congratulations from Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He said that he would review the message and respond appropriately.

Declining to say what proposals he might pursue in connection with Iran, Obama said that, "We have only one president at a time."

He added that he will move deliberately on how to respond to Iran and what the response might be, but that he won't do it in a "knee-jerk fashion."

Obama said: "I am not the president and I won't be until January 20."

The president-elect's comments came shortly after Defense Minister Ehud Barak told visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday that Israel would not rule out any course of action to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons.

Most of Obama's press conference was devoted to his plans to deal with the financial crisis that is wreaking havoc on the U.S. economy.

Surrounded by a large group of economic advisers, he said the hardships many Americans were suffering economically were an urgent reminder that the nation's leaders must act swiftly to stabilize the financial industry.

Obama went on to say that he has asked his transition team, specifically, to work on some ideas to help the staggering auto industry.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Obama's newly chosen White House chief of staff, was among those who stood at his side, along with former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.