Iran's Karoubi attacks Ahmadinejad on U.S. policy
Iranian opposition figure Mehdi Karoubi, whose supporters clashed with police in a rally last week, accused President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday of double standards in his U.S. policy, Reuters reported.
Karoubi, who was defeated in June's disputed presidential election, said the populist leader's government had shown more openness towards Washington than previous governments, despite strident anti-U.S. rhetoric.
Ahmadinejad has championed a nuclear energy policy that has led Iran into a dispute with the United States and its allies, who say the programme could allow Tehran to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies such an intention.
"(The government) has been constantly trying to change its policies recently, by sending congratulation messages, sending letters even if the other side doesn't reply, and expressing readiness for dialogue," Karoubi said in a message on his website.
Ahmadinejad congratulated U.S. President Barack Obama on his election in a letter and called for "fundamental and fair" changes to U.S. policies in the region.
Some lawmakers criticised him for going too far in making the overture. Ahmadinejad also sent a letter to former U.S president George W. Bush in 2006.
According to his website, Karoubi was attacked by plainclothes officers during protests last week to mark the 30th anniversary of the storming of the U.S. embassy during the 1979 revolution.
Street protests after the June election by supporters of reform candidates Karoubi and Mirhossein Mousavi were the biggest in Iran since those that led to the ouster of the U.S.-backed shah three decades ago.
Authorities deny vote-rigging and portray the unrest as a foreign-backed bid to undermine the Islamic state.
Karoubi criticised Ahmadinejad for meeting many American politicians, academics and writers during a trip this year to the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
"If one-tenth of such a meeting happened at the time of all past governments, Islamists would have come onto the streets ... to protest against the government," he said.
"National interests should be observed. The national interest is not a matter that different governments can change."