NEW YORK -- U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said if elected president of the United States he would personally try to strike a deal with Iran.
The Democrat seeking his party's nomination for president told The New York Times in an hourlong interview that he would offer economic inducements and might even promise not to seek "regime change" in exchange for Iran's cooperation on terrorism and nuclear issues.
Obama blamed the Bush administration's policies in the region for creating anxiety that prompted Iran's support of Shiite militant groups in Iraq.
He said forging a new relationship with Iran would be a major element of a broad effort to stabilize Iraq and facilitate the speedy withdrawal of American combat troops, the Times reported Thursday.
In his effort to distinguish himself from front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Obama previously said he would be willing to sit down for diplomatic meetings with countries like Iran, North Korea and Syria without preconditions.
"She missed the strategic interests that should have dictated whether we went into Iraq in the first place or not," Obama told the Times.
Copyright © 2007, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.