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.
    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

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    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.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.