Iran: Rouhani looks to rebuilding relations with US
President Hassan Rouhani wants to improve bilateral relations with the United States and other Western powers as he stated in an editorial published in a German newspaper on Monday. Until now, this has been an issue he has avoided since he took office.
After winning by a landslide in a recent June election, Rouhani has promised a policy of engagement with the West. He has had regular diplomatic contacts with the United States, but they have been limited to negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program which has been seen as a highly controversial issue between the two.
"We want to rebuild and improve our relations to European and North American countries on a basis of mutual respect," he wrote in a contribution for the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.
"We are striving to avoid new burdens on relations between Iran and the United States and also to remove the tensions that we have inherited," said Rouhani, who has promised reach for an easing of sanctions from the US.
After the Islamic revolution in 1979, Tehran and Washington severed relations.
“Iran cannot forget everything that has affected relations with the United States over the last 60 years, he said, but added: "We must now concentrate on the present and orientate ourselves towards the future."
Rouhani's diplomatic efforts have already resulted in significant progress. One of the first US relation efforts from Rouhani was made by a historic phone call to President Obama after the two nations had not spoken for more than three decades.
Two months later Iran and world powers signed an interim deal to slow the process Iran's nuclear activities in return for some sanction downturn from the US.
Rouhani stated that he is doing whatever he can to end tensions over Tehran's nuclear activities. Iranian officials have been united in their claims that the nuclear progress is for energy purposes only and that all actions are and will continue to be in the name of peace regarding its nuclear development.
"We have never even considered the option of acquiring nuclear weapons," Rouhani said. "We'll never give up our right to profit from nuclear energy. But we are working towards removing all doubts and answer all reasonable questions about our program."
Under the agreement made in November, Iran will stop its most sensitive nuclear work - uranium enrichment to a fissile concentration of 20 percent - and stop other parts of its activities in exchange for some easing of sanctions, including trade in petrochemicals..
Talks are expected to continue after the new year.