TEHRAN, May 19 (UPI) -- Iranian Reformist presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi said he would engage Washington if actions, not words, emerged from the White House.
The former parliamentary speaker talked to Iran's Press TV as the Iranian presidential contest heats up, saying he had "problems" with Washington but leaving room for negotiations.
Several officials in Tehran pointed out that conciliatory messages from Washington coincided with the renewal of harsh economic sanctions, saying U.S. President Barack Obama has so far only offered sweeping rhetoric with little in the way of concrete action.
Karroubi backed that position, saying talks with Tehran depend on measures taken by Washington.
"And I think that once this happens, given that Iran makes reasonable and rational moves and given that it is led by a leader who is smart and very knowledgeable, I think that if both sides take the right steps, we can have positive talks," he said.
Karroubi, a harsh critic of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, took aim at the current administration for what he said is a policy of self-interest.
"This government's first problem is that Ahmadinejad has no regard for expert opinion and he likes to go it alone," he said. "He does not even get along with his own friends."
Iran holds presidential elections June 12. Karroubi and former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi led the pack on the Reformist slate while Ahmadinejad and former commander of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps, Mohsen Rezaei, form the Principlist ticket.