Rouhani: Improved Relations with Tehran Is in U.S. Hands

ROME (Reuters) -
Iran President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a news conference in Rome, Italy, January 27, 2016. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Iran President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference in Rome, Italy, Wednesday. (Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi)

Iran could have better relations with the United States, but it is up to Washington to change its “hostile” stance towards Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday.

“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,” Rouhani said at a news conference in Rome, before flying to Paris to continue his first trip to Europe since the lifting of sanctions.

He also accused the “Israeli lobby” for being responsible for U.S. hostility towards Iran.

He rejected accusations by many Western nations that Iran is funding various militant groups which they deem to be terrorist organisations. “It is clear that Iran is a country opposed to terrorism and a country that fights terrorism,” he declared.

Rouhani is looking to rebuild Iranian relations with the West some two weeks after financial sanctions on Tehran were rolled back, following the implementation of its nuclear deal with world powers. “Iran does not just want trade,” he noted, “but also investment and technology.”