News / Middle East

    Iran Hopes for Talks With Saudis to Resolve Differences

    Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a news conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 26, 2016.
    Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a news conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 26, 2016.
    Ayaz Gul

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says his country is ready to “do anything it can” to restore its relations with Saudi Arabia, for the sake of promoting progress and prosperity in the Muslim world.

    Rouhani, who wound up a two-day visit to Pakistan Saturday, said he believes in resolving differences through talks, although direct talks between the two nations are unlikely in the short term.

    Saudi Arabia broke off relations with Iran in January, when mobs stormed into the kingdom's embassy in Tehran to protest against the Saudis' execution of a Shi'ite religious leader.

    FILE - Smoke rises as Iranian protesters set fire to the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, Jan. 3, 2016.
    FILE - Smoke rises as Iranian protesters set fire to the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, Jan. 3, 2016.

    Hope for a resolution

    Speaking to reporters in Islamabad, Rouhani said Iran is "not interested in tension with Saudi Arabia."

    "Iran is a very big country in the region and the Muslim world," he said. "Saudi Arabia plays an influential role in the Muslim world. Therefore, if there is a problem between the two countries it has to be resolved.”

    Rouhani noted that Iran's nuclear agreement with the international community last year provided a good example of how seemingly intractable problems can be solved through negotiations.

    Since arriving Friday on his first visit to Pakistan as president, the Iranian leader has concluded agreements with Pakistani civilian and military officials on expanded trade and economic relations, cooperation on energy issues and improved security along the two countries' 1,000-kilometer-long border.

    In this photo released by Press Information Department, Pakistan's PM Nawaz Sharif (R) receives visiting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 25, 2016. This is Rouhani's first visit to Pakistan since taking office.
    In this photo released by Press Information Department, Pakistan's PM Nawaz Sharif (R) receives visiting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 25, 2016. This is Rouhani's first visit to Pakistan since taking office.

    In Tehran's view, Rouhani said, the standoff between Saudi Arabia and Iran is holding back progress and prosperity throughout the Muslim world.

    “We hope that in the near future we will find the right path to lead us to resolve the issues between us,” he told reporters, adding that Pakistan is one of several nations that have offered to mediate between Shi’ite Iran and Saudi Arabia, whose monarchy follows the Sunni branch of Islam.

    Syrian conflict

    Differences between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims have long divided the two countries, and they have been on opposite sides of the civil war in Syria — Iran backing the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and Saudi Arabia supporting rebels fighting to overthrow Assad.

    As a first step toward cooperation, the Iranian president said all sides should choke off weapons shipments that allow Islamic State terror gangs to keep fighting.

    Rouhani also called for an absolute ban on trade involving oil that Islamic State produces in the parts of Iraq under its control.

    Despite continuing violence in several parts of Syria, Rouhani said Iran welcomes recent moves toward a cease-fire between Damascus government forces and opposition fighters.

    FILE - Stalls are seen on a street beside damaged buildings in the rebel held al-Shaar neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, Feb. 10, 2016.
    FILE - Stalls are seen on a street beside damaged buildings in the rebel held al-Shaar neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, Feb. 10, 2016.

    Islamabad has deep political and financial ties to Riyadh, and has been trying to maintain a delicate balance to promote ties with Tehran while not upsetting Saudi Arabia.

    Tehran has almost completed work on a natural-gas pipeline that could supply Pakistan's energy needs, Rouhani said, and he urged Islamabad to complete the project on its side of the border. He said Pakistani leaders assured him they are committed to the pipeline project, but that work had been stalled by international economic sanctions against Iran.
     

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora