Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani describes terrorism as a “disease” more dangerous than the Ebola virus, expressing Tehran’s readiness to help contain the threatening phenomenon.
“The diseases of terrorism and extremism are much more dangerous that the Ebola disease,” President Rouhani said at a meeting with the Belgian Ambassador to Iran Francois del Marmol on Monday.
According to the latest figures by the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of confirmed, probable, and suspected people hit by Ebola has risen to 10,141. The disease has already claimed 4,922 lives.
Rouhani called the escalation of terrorism in the region a “menace,” adding that the only solution to the problem would be “consultation, coordination, and cooperation among countries.”
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to consult with all influential countries in this regard.”
Rouhani also touched upon the ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers to reach a final deal on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program, saying, “If there exists a serious political will among the sides [involved] in the negotiations, a final comprehensive agreement can be reached within the remaining time.”
He further noted that the outcome of a comprehensive deal on Iran’s nuclear energy program will be a “win-win for all sides.”
Rouhani also placed emphasis on the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities, saying, the fatwa (decree) by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei against the use of nuclear weapons is “the most important guarantee [that] Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful.”
On February 22, 2012, Ayatollah Khamenei said the Islamic Republic considers the pursuit and possession of nuclear weapons “a grave sin” from every logical, religious, and theoretical standpoint.
The Iranian President also pointed to age-old relations between the Tehran and Brussels, saying, baseless pretexts, which have been behind cruel sanctions against Iran, should not harm the countries that have had good relations with Iran in the past.
The Belgian ambassador, who submitted his credentials to President Rouhani, said, “Iran is a big and powerful country in the region and we want the expansion of ties” with Tehran.
He further expressed hope that sanctions against Iran would be lifted sooner, saying, “I hope with the removal of obstacles, we see Belgian businessmen in Iran.”
Iran and the P5+1 group of countries – the United States, France, Britain, China, Russia, and Germany – are in talks to work out a final deal aimed at ending the longstanding dispute over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program as a November 24 deadline approaches.
Sources close to the Iranian negotiating team say the main stumbling block in the way of resolving the Western dispute over Iran’s nuclear energy program remains to be the removal of all the bans imposed on the Islamic Republic and not the number of centrifuges or the level of uranium enrichment.
Tehran wants the sanctions entirely lifted while Washington, under pressure from the pro-Israeli lobby, insists that at least the UN-imposed sanctions should remain in place.