| GEO World|
| US demands Iran end 'hateful rhetoric'|
| Updated at: 0118 PST, Tuesday, April 21, 2009|
WASHINGTON: The United States called Monday on Iran to end its "hateful rhetoric" after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's attacks on Israel but said it still wanted talks with Tehran to mend relations.
President Barack Obama "disagrees vehemently" with Ahmadinejad, who branded Israel a racist state, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters.
He said it vindicated the decision by the country's first African-American president to shun the UN conference on racism in Geneva.
"This is hateful rhetoric. It's, I think, one of the reasons why you saw the administration and the president determined that its participation in this conference was not a wise thing to do," he said.
But Gibbs added, "We continue to evaluate our policy and understand that from a larger foreign policy framework, doing things the same old way is not likely to bring about the change we need in our foreign policy."
State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Ahmadinejad's "rhetoric is unhelpful, it's counterproductive and it just feeds racial hatred."
"We want to have a direct dialogue with Iran, but Iran needs to do a number of things to get back in the overall good graces of the international community," Wood told reporters.