Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 27
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Resuming friendly ties with the US is possible but the key is in Washington, says Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
"If the key was in Tehran I would have already used that," Rouhani said at a press conference in Rome wrapping up his Italy visit on Jan. 27, Iranian state TV channel IRINN reported.
He added that the US should take steps to improve ties with the Islamic Republic, and called on Washington to stop enmity and pressure against Iran.
"The US should know that regional issues won't be solved without Iran," added the president.
The US should leave the past behind and look forward, he underlined.
Rouhani also said that the American side has taken small steps regarding economic issues, such as removing ban on plane sells to Iran.
"Today, under the current conditions, Iran welcomes US investment in the country," he said, adding Tehran has no problem with US investors' presence in the country for joint production and technology transfer.
The Iranian president further touched upon the issue of terrorism, saying the Islamic Republic is ready to cooperate with other countries in fighting terrorism.
"Iran itself has been a victim of terrorism," Rouhani said, adding he has discussed the fight against terrorism with Italian officials.
During the press conference, Rouhani was asked about Tehran-Riyadh ties, to which he answered that Iran isn't seeking tensions in ties with Saudi Arabia.
"Iran and Saudi Arabia are important regional Muslim powers," he said, adding that Saudis are "angry due to failure of their regional plans."
"They had plans for Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, which failed," Rouhani said, accusing the Saudi Arabia of "supporting terrorists in the region".
He also strongly criticized Saudi attacks on Yemen, urging to halt the war.
The crisis between Riyadh and Tehran erupted after execution of a prominent Shia cleric, Nimr al-Nimr by Saudis on Jan. 2. After the execution, angry Iranian protesters attacked Saudi embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad. Right after the attacks on its diplomatic missions, the Saudi Arabia said it severed ties with the Islamic Republic.
Further speaking at the event, Rouhani said he immediately condemned the attack on Saudi embassy, but rejected the need for apologizing to Saudis on the issue.
"It is Saudi Arabia that should apologize for killing cleric al-Nimr, Yemenis, and for fatal Hajj mismanagement," Rouhani stressed.
He also expressed regret over al-Nimr's execution, saying the cleric wasn't involved in terrorism or any dangerous activities.
Rouhani further urged to restore security in the region, saying the terrorist group "Islamic State" (aka IS, ISIS or ISIL) is a major problem in the region.