News / Middle East

Iran's Rouhani: Possible to Overcome Animosity With US

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani listens to WEF founder Klaus Schwab (not pictured) during a meeting at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2014 in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 22, 2014.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani listens to WEF founder Klaus Schwab (not pictured) during a meeting at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2014 in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 22, 2014.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday it would be possible to turn more than three decades of enmity with the United States into friendship if both sides were to make an effort.

He was speaking in a Swiss television interview after arriving at the World Economic Forum in Davos where he will court the global business community and meet a series of oil company executives on Thursday.

Asked whether there could one day be a U.S. embassy again in Tehran instead of the Swiss embassy representing U.S. interests in Iran, the president told public RTS television: "No animosity lasts eternally, no friendship either lasts eternally. So we have to transform animosities into friendship."

An interim deal with six major powers, including the United States, to restrict Iran's disputed nuclear program in exchange for a partial easing of economic sanctions entered into force this week.

Rouhani traveled to Davos to persuade foreign investors to return to his country, which has some of the world's biggest oil and gas resources and a market of 76 million people.

In the interview, in which he spoke in Farsi voiced over into French, he said relations with Washington had been difficult in the past, but with hard work and efforts by both sides, problems could be overcome.

"This effort is necessary to create confidence on both sides. Iran is in fact stretching out its hand in peace and friendship to all countries of the world and wants friendly, good relations with all countries in the world," said the president.

Skeptical about Syria

He made no mention of the more difficult negotiations that lie ahead to conclude a permanent agreement on Iran's nuclear program, which the West believes is aimed at developing weapons. He poured cold water on a U.N.-sponsored peace
conference on the civil war in Syria, however, which opened Wednesday in Montreux, Switzerland. A key ally of Damascus, Iran was was excluded from the talks after refusing to endorse the goal of a transition from President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

"Reaching a conclusion will be very difficult, but my wish is that if all efforts go in the direction of the wishes of the Syrian people, that is the direction that should prevail," said Rouhani. "As to whether this conference can achieve its objectives, I
have a lot of doubt," he added.

Rouhani accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of backing "terrorists" in Syria in an effort to extend their own influence in the Middle East.

Rouhani will give a short speech on Thursday to chief executives from oil majors such as Eni, BP, Total and Shell, according to several executives who meet in Davos.

Heads of U.S. companies such as Exxon Mobil also could attend, the executives said. Tehran wants Western oil companies to revive its giant aging oilfields, and to develop new oil and gas fields once sanctions are lifted. It is improving its oil investment contract in order to lure them in.

The major OPEC producer has started implementing a nuclear deal with world powers, a step toward a broad settlement that could lead to the end of sanctions.

Western sanctions imposed over the nuclear program have choked Tehran's production - output is down a million barrels per day (bpd) since the start of 2012 to 2.7 million bpd - costing billions in lost revenue.

Top Iranian officials say the country can raise production to four million bpd within six months of sanctions being lifted.

Western experts are more conservative, saying three million to 3.5 million bpd is more likely. Encouraged by the preliminary nuclear deal struck between Iran and Western powers in November, Tehran and Big Oil have wasted no time making contact, in the hope of a full lifting of sanctions.

Paolo Scaroni of Italy's Eni was the first Western CEO to meet publicly with Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries last month.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
January 23, 2014 9:25 AM
What a world of diplomacy! Here Rouhani is smiling to the world pretending he wants improved relations with everybody, including the US. There the foreign minister claims Iran did not agree to any dismantling of nuclear facility. He asked anyone who cared to show him the word "dismantle" in the agreement struck. Was it a mistake not to spell out the word DISMANTLE in the deal, or is someone playing tricks with the deal? Mr. Obama was busy ruminating in a friendly Tehran and must have helped deceive the other parties to the negotiations to the overlooking of the in-between lines of the agreement between Tehran, and IAEA and the P5+1.

I saw it coming, and Mr. Rouhani is pretending to be wooing for friendship so that USA may overlook this dangerous omission and focus on the need to co-opt Iran from Russia. But Ayatollah Ali Khamenei knows who the enemies of Iran are, whatever Obama thinks. And if Rouhani is crying out against terrorism, what has he done to the trouble of boko haram in Nigeria which everyone knows is armed from Tehran - at least more than twice Iran's arms shipment to militants and terrorists in Nigeria have been intercepted. With the foregoing, is the administration in Tehran to be trusted?


by: Marty Courtney
January 22, 2014 8:14 PM
The relationship between Iran and the U.S. is very complex indeed. Neither side trusts each other, and for good reason. For Iran, they cannot forget that the U.S. installed Shah Reza Pahlavi on them who created a terrorism against his own people, and the U.S. cannot forget the hostage crisis and the constant vitriol that has spouted for years from the Islamic Republic. For both sides to move beyond this would require good faith on both sides, and I am not ready to grant that to Iran, especially in light of their interference DIRECTLY into the Syrian civil war. They back Assad, who will invariably continue to show what a despot he is and is very likely to be charged by the ICC with crimes against humanity.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid