Iran would welcome US investors after two decades of frozen relations and is waiting for the United States "to make the first step," The Associated Press quoted Iran's foreign minister Kamel Kharrazi as telling a newspaper.
"From our side the way is open for American companies to come to Iran and become active here," Kharrazi told the German weekly Der Spiegel in an interview, said The Associated Press.
Kharrazi's comments came on the eve of a visit to Germany by Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, part of the moderate cleric's efforts to revive ties with western Europe since his 1997 election.
Enmity has marked US-Iranian ties since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution overthrew the Shah and Islamic militants held 52 Americans hostages at the US embassy in Tehran for 444 days.
But Kharrazi said Iran wants to look to the future. Iranians "are a people that can forget very quickly and thoroughly when the other side shows sincerity and friendliness toward us," he told Der Spiegel. "But now it is up to America to make the first step."
The Clinton administration lifted an import ban on Persian carpets, caviar and pistachios from Iran last March as an overture toward Tehran. But contrary to European governments, the United States has still blocked major business deals, specifically in the oil industry, said the AP.
Kharrazi invited Germany to boost economic ties with Iran, saying that current Iranian plans call for investments totaling $13 billion.
"And we expect that such a range of projects is of interest for many countries," including Germany, he said.
Western Europe froze ties with Iran after a 1997 German court ruling that the 1992 slayings of four Iranian dissidents in Berlin had been ordered at the highest level in Tehran. But Kharrazi said that was all in the past now.
"There's no question about that," Kharrazi told Der Spiegel.
"We want to look to the future and would rather look at possibilities that can bring us closer together," he said - Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )