|Animosity between Iran and U.S. can be overcome: Rouhani||
TEHRAN – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday it was possible to turn more than three decades of enmity with the United States into friendship if both sides made an effort.
He was speaking in a Swiss television interview after arriving in Davos to attend the World Economic Forum, Reuters reported.
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 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers including the United States entered into force this week. Under the accord, Iran agreed not to expand its nuclear program for six months in exchange for a partial easing of economic sanctions.
Rouhani travelled 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, 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,” the president said.
He made no mention of the more difficult negotiations that lie ahead to conclude a permanent agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.
However, he poured cold water on a UN-sponsored peace conference on the civil war in Syria, which opened in Montreux, Switzerland on Wednesday in the absence of Iran, a key ally of Damascus, which was excluded 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.”
“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.
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