Rouhani: For U.S.-Iran ties to be restored, U.S. must apologize

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If relations between Iran and the United States are to be restored, the U.S. must apologize for its past behavior, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Nov. 12.

Rouhani, who earlier had said the nuclear deal with world powers could pave the way for a warming of relations between Teheran and Washington, did not go into detail as to what exactly the U.S. must apologize for.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. /AP/Ebrahim Noroozi
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. /AP/Ebrahim Noroozi

In an interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper, Rouhani hinted that the U.S. and Iran could open embassies in each others’ capitals.

“One day these embassies will re-open but what counts is behavior and the Americans hold the key to this,” said Rouhani, who is visiting Rome this weekend on his first trip to a European capital.

“If they modify their policies, correct errors committed in these 37 years and apologize to the Iranian people, the situation will change and good things can happen.”

Rouhani’s remarks run contrary to those of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who continues to rule out renewed relations with the “Great Satan.”

Khamenei’s so-called “conditional” approval of the nuclear deal includes the immediate lifting of all sanctions on Teheran.

The Obama administration has approved conditional sanctions waivers for Iran, which won’t take effect until it is in compliance with the nuclear agreement.

“The way this agreement is applied can have an impact on the future,” Rouhani said in the interview.

“If it is well applied it can lay the foundation for fewer tensions with the United States, creating the conditions to open a new era. But if the Americans don’t respect their part of the nuclear accord, then surely our relationship will remain as it has been in the past.” he said.

During his visit to Rome on Nov. 14-15, Rouhani will meet with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and will also hold talks with Pope Francis. He will then visit Paris for talks on Nov. 16-17.

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