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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs