Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says his country is ready to rejoin the global economy after carrying out an interim deal with world powers to limit its nuclear development program.
Rouhani told corporate chiefs Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he sees Tehran "pursuing policies of moderation, prudence and hope in the future global economy." He said Iran has the potential to be one of the world's top 10 economic powers in the next 30 years, and plans to reopen trade with other countries.
Iran's interim deal curtailing its nuclear development took effect this week. Rouhani said he did not see "a serious impediment" in completing a permanent deal with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany and the European Union. The deal grants a limited lifting of sanctions in return for temporary constraints on Iran’s uranium enrichment and nuclear development programs.
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Rouhani said the talks are a policy of “constructive engagement” with the world, and he pledged cooperation with Iran’s neighbors but he did not mention Saudi Arabia in his remarks. Rouhani also did not mention Israel as being among the states Iran is seeking friendly relations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also in Davos, issued a statement saying “Rouhani continues Iran’s deception show.”
U.S.- led sanctions aimed at keeping Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon have battered the Iranian economy. With the easing of sanctions, Iran is seeking to renew Western investment.
Rouhani repeated Tehran’s pledge not to seek nuclear weapons but he also said “Iran will not accept any obstacles to its "scientific progress.” The U.S. and other powers want Tehran to end its high grade uranium enrichment program and shut down a heavy-water reactor which could produce plutonium fuel, under any permanent nuclear deal. Iran has so far rejected those terms.
Mr. Rouhani said Iran's vast oil reserves could play a key role in promoting global energy stability.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared to engage in constructive cooperation in promoting global energy security by relying on its vast energy resources in a framework of mutual interests. We are prepared to engage in a serious process to establish reliable institutions for this long-term partnership,” he said.
In a meeting with energy executives, Rouhani pledged that by September Iran would produce a new attractive investment scheme for oil contracts.
In a reference to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Rouhani also criticized countries who he said are supporting terrorism in Syria, saying their support cold hurt them eventually at home. Iran was not invited to Wednesday’s Geneva 2 peace talks in Montreaux, Switzerland because it has so far refused to agree to a framework for a post-Assad government in Syria.