Buoyed by the lifting of sanctions and its rising regional clout, Iran has said that the US cannot solve problems in the Middle East without its help. Asking the US to reduce its hostility towards Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said, “The United States cannot solve any problems in the Middle East without Iran’s help and should drop its “hostile” stance towards Tehran.”
Mr Rouhani is on his first official visit to Europe after the sanctions were lifted against his country, suspected of developing atomic weapons programme. He also took a dig at regional arch-rival Saudi Arabia by saying its military campaign in neighbouring Yemen was a failure and a frustration. Mr Rouhani is on a four-day trip to Italy and France, and is seeking to bring Iran back into the global markets and restore its international credentials following the signing of last year’s nuclear accord with world powers and easing of economic sanctions.
“It’s possible that Iran and the United States might have friendly relations. But the key to that is in Washington’s hands, not Tehran’s,” Mr Rouhani said. However, he also added that he would be happy to see US businessmen in Iran. “I would like to see the Americans set aside their hostility and chose another way, but inside the US there are some problems, there is no unified voice,” he said. Mr Rouhani took jibes against the influence of the Zionist lobby.
The US is the most dominant global player in the region with close ties with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel, and is militarily involved in both Iraq and Syria where the Islamic State is the dominant terror group.
While there are differences still existing between Iran and the US, the two sides have come a long way to secure the nuclear agreement. Speaking about US role in the Middle East, Mr Rouhani said: “The Americans know very well that when it comes to important regional issues they cannot achieve anything without Iran’s influence or say.”
The geopolitical tensions in the Middle East have escalated after Saudi Arabia and Iran broke off diplomatic ties at the beginning of 2016. Despite differences between Iran and US, the two sides are united in their opposition against the Islamic State.
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