"We will wait and see what his administration will do," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said of President-elect Barack Obama during a news conference here in Tehran. But he offered some advice, saying the United States "should limit its influence to its own borders."
But the Iranian president repeated his demand that the United States change its behavior in order to decrease tension between the two nations.
"Any government that comes to power in the United States should limit its influence to its own borders. The root of all problems and wars in the world is the unwanted meddling of the United States in world affairs," Ahmadinejad said.
He also called for an American change in attitude toward Iran but did not elaborate.
During her Senate confirmation hearing in Washington on Tuesday, Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton said she planned to move swiftly to engage Iran and Syria directly, underscoring the new administration's intent to shift US policy in the Middle East.
On Thursday, Ahmadinejad also sharply criticized Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip. "The defeat and desperation of this regime has become clear for all," he said, referring to Israel.
"It has become obvious, even for the supporters of the Zionist regime, that the continued existence of this regime in the region is not possible."
Ahmadinejad also criticized Arab nations for not cutting ties with Israel during its assault on the Hamas movement in Gaza.
He said he had sent a letter to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, a US ally. "I explained to him the situation in Gaza - which he surely knows - and asked him to choose sides. We must be very careful to avoid divisions," the president said, saying that "imperialists wanted to divide and conquer the region."
He said an oil embargo against countries that support Israel "is a good proposal if Arab countries cooperate."
Ahmadinejad said he had no information about an Iranian student group that has put a bounty of $1.5 million on the head of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who has drawn criticism in his own country and throughout the region for failing to open Egypt's land border with Gaza. "They must be very rich," Ahmadinejad said of the students.
Iran has repeatedly announced that the students' move does not at all represent the Islamic republic's foreign policy.