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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs