President Rouhani: Sanctions lose-lose game for Iran, Europe
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has deemed sanction years as a lose-lose condition for Iran-Europe ties causing harm to European states.
The Iranian president made the remark during a press conference in the Italian capital of Rome, where he is on a state visit.
Rouhani stressed that Iran would pursue close relations with Italy in line with the 14 MoUs which were signed by the two sides’ top-ranked officials in scientific, transport and technology fields.
He noted that Iran would work with some countries like China and Russia who had ignored the sanctions while European countries suffered great losses as a result of the sanctions.
“The European states had deep-rooted and good relations with Iran before the international sanctions were imposed,” noted the Iranian President adding “Italy was chosen as the first destination after the removal of sanction due to having historical, economic and cultural ties with Iran since ancient times.”
He underlined that the meetings held in Italy were not limited to economic issues; “we conducted talks on numerous subjects like science, technology, university, reconstruction of cultural heritage, tourism industry as well as important regional issues in Iraq, Syria and Libya.”
Rouhani also referred to the meeting with Pope Francis; “we had a constructive meeting with the Pope where we discussed various issues like the relationship between religions.”
“I believe that believing in Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) entails belief in other holy prophets as well and all religions are respected by the Iranian community; the Pope also made good remarks by asserting that we need to hear the divine teaching by heart,” he added.
Iran’s President went on to add that “all influential Islamic and Christian scholars need to exert their power in abolishing mass destructive weapons; at the meeting with the Pope we also discussed peace in the Middle East touching upon numerous other issues including my proposal at the UN dubbed as WAVE of which he was fully informed.”
“Freedom of speech has no interference with that fact that all religions need to be respected,” he underlined.
President Rouhani also highlighted the prospects of bilateral relations with European countries, particularly Italy; “even before making the visit to Italy, I was optimistic because many delegations had already visited Iran; the relations had been frozen during the sanctions years by I can perceive the sun of cooperation rising.”
“A positive atmosphere is expected for after the removal of sanctions,” stressed the President adding “Iran mainly seeks investment rather than trade in order to export Iranian products to all parts of the world.”
“The road map designed between Iran and Italy indicates that relations will get reinvigorated,” he continued.
When asked about the current status of ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Hassan Rouhani reiterated “Iran and Saudi Arabia are two neighbor and Muslim states and we have always sought good relations with Saudis; however, sheikh al-Nimr as a Muslim scholar was decapitated by Saudis; he was not a terrorist; the scholar would merely call for equal rights by giving speeches defending social rights.”
“The Iranian nation and government severely condemned the act of attacking the Saudi Embassy which was immediately dealt with and slammed by the Iranian government and the perpetuators of the attack were arrested,” he asserted.
He further said that, “Iran has pulled its share in this regard although Saudi actions are not justifiable; they have taken some wrong steps in the region by attacking Yemen over the past ten months; Saudi Arabia needs to calm down.”
“Iran would not look for increasing tensions, rather we are following much more important task like confronting terrorism, ISIL as well as regional wars,” noted the Iranian President welcoming reduction of tensions.
In response to another question about Iran’s commitment to confront terrorism despite some who accuse Iran of funding terrorists, President Rouhani emphasized “Iran is clear about fight against extremism and this has been the case since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution; Iran has stood against all groups which cause insecurity the perfect example being the backing of Iraq in protecting its cities.”
“Iran remains as an anti-terrorist country, an issue which was also discussed with the Italian officials,” he reiterated.
The Iranian president also said that the US administration can take the opportunity to enhance economic relations with Iran following the implementation of Tehran’s landmark nuclear agreement with 5+1.
“Non-hostile and tension-free relations between Iran and the US are possible; the key to this lies in Washington not in Tehran; and they should use the key, put aside hostilities and pressure on Iranian people,” Rouhani said, adding that US officials “should understand that the era of sanctions and pressure has ended.”
He further stressed that the US administration should come to the understanding that conflicts in the Middle East region will not be settled without consultations with Iran.
Touching upon the upcoming elections in Iran, Rouhani said “I prefer to discuss internal issues inside the country while the elections will be highly crucial and decisive; I expect good and successful elections despite the existence of minor disagreements.”
“Hopefully Iran’s Guardian Council will alleviate existing concerns for us to have a powerful parliament,” said the official.
When asked about the main cause of recent years’ economic struggles in Europe and weather it was merely rooted in economic issues or a human crisis as well, the Iranian President said “several concerns are ongoing in Europe as well as in the European Union; there is difficulty in dealing with situations when one member suffers from a problem; one major problem is the refugee crisis since the enterence of emigrants has caused severe difficulties while Iran has received three million afghan refugees in recent years without any problem.”