Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Iran wants ‘bold’ overture from US

Khaleej Times:
A senior Iranian envoy urged Washington to make a ‘courageous’ first move for reconciliation on Monday as he wrapped up a two-day visit to key US ally Kuwait. READ MORE

I believe that the American side should initiate a first courageous step,” said Hassan Rowhani, who heads Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.

Any future Iranian president will reciprocate if he sees that the United States has taken a positive step,” Rowhani told a news conference, referring to the Islamic republic’s June 17 presidential election.

If the United States changes its language and refrains from adopting a certain strategy against Iran, I believe new conditions will prevail in the relations between Iran and America.

“The situation with the United States cannot continue this way. If the American position changes, there is scope for relations.”

Iran has had no diplomatic relations with the United States since shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Washington accuses Teheran of seeking nuclear weapons and lumped it into an “axis of evil” with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and communist North Korea.

Rowhani said there had been exchanges of messages through the Swiss embassy.

“We send messages to them and receive their messages, sometimes through other countries and even through unofficial channels,” Rowhani said without elaborating.

We hope they cease the language of threat and waive sanctions they have imposed against Iranian interests.”

Rowhani denied that Iran was seeking Kuwaiti mediation but said he hoped the country would use its close ties with Washington to explain the iranian point of view.

“We are not asking (Kuwait) to take an Iranian message to the United States,” he said.

“But we expect Kuwait to remember that Iran is a friendly neighbouring nation when the issue of Iran comes up during talks.”

During his visit, Rowhani held talks with Prime Minister Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah who is reportedly planning a visit to the United States next month.

Kuwait was the main launchpad for the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and remains the coalition’s main jumping off point for troops and supplies.