TEHRAN – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Iran is ready to help the Iraqi government and nation, within the framework of international law, if Baghdad asks for help.
“We, as the Islamic Republic of Iran, are both friends and neighbors of Iraq, and our ties with the Iraqi government are close and cordial. If the Iraqi government asks for our help, we will review [the request], though we have not received such a request so far,” Rouhani said at a press conference in Tehran on Saturday.
The Iranian president noted that any act of terrorism in the region or anywhere else is a source of concern for Iran. He added that the world must unite to fight against extremism and violence, whose epitome is terrorism.
Nuclear deal possible
Commenting on the negotiations between Iran and the six world powers on Tehran’s nuclear program, Rouhani said that the Islamic Republic believes that the nuclear issue can be resolved by July 20, though serious differences between the parties still remain.
He went on to say that reaching an agreement would be the best solution for both Iran and the West, adding, “This is Iran’s strategy. The world should be aware that Iran is determined to have constructive interactions with the world. It is more important than the nuclear issue.”
“Iran will continue [uranium] enrichment, and this is not a point of contention between Iran and the West. It should not cross anybody’s mind that enrichment could be halted. If an agreement is reached, the sanctions should be lifted,” Rouhani stated.
Iran and the 5+1 group -- the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China, and Germany -- are holding negotiations to build on an interim deal struck in November, according to which Tehran agreed not to expand its nuclear program for six months in exchange for limited sanctions relief. The agreement came into force on January 20. It set a July 20 deadline to clinch a long-term deal that would lead to a gradual lifting of all nuclear-related sanctions on Iran. But the agreement also included a provision stating that the deadline could be extended by six months if a deal cannot be reached by July 20.