Iran ready for talks 'toward peace' with Arab states

Rouhani a cleric whose administration struck the 2015 landmark nuclear deal with world powers decisively won a second term in Friday's election. (AP

"They're working together extremely cooperatively, and also working incredible well with Israel".

Rouhani, known as pragmatist and reformist has engaged his country in foreign policy changes.

The latest tensions came days after Gulf Arab leaders met Trump at a Riyadh summit of Muslim nations.

He said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that "Iran is part of the solution" to the conflicts in the Middle East, including Syria and Iraq, "and we can not get away from that fact".

Iran's ire was raised when President Trump referred to it as "a regime that is responsible for so much instability in the region" in his Riyadh speech. Both Saudi Arabia and Iran have supported various armed groups in the Middle East and beyond.

"Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate it, deny it, funding for terrorism, can not do it, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they so richly deserve", Trump said during the speech, which gathered the leaders of more than 50 Muslim nations in the Gulf for a summit on countering extremism.

"Once again, by his meddling, repetitive and baseless claims about Iran, the American president tried to encourage the countries of the region to purchase more arms by spreading Iranophobia", he charged.

The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman called on the US government to stop fomenting new wars, conducting anti-Iranian policies and supplying weapons to supporters of terrorism.

Rouhani, who defeated hardline challenger Ebrahim Raisi in Friday's presidential election, responded by ridiculing decades of United States strategy in the Middle East.

In his comments on arrival, Trump said he believed there was "a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace" to the Middle East peace process, but throughout the day, Iran seemed to concern him more. "Those who have fought terrorists are the Syrian and Iraqi people". But who funded the terrorists?

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"The problem is whether Saudi Arabia would be ready ..." Trump's intention to try to rebuild the chilly alliance with these countries is understandable. Military power is only a part of the strength and we are fully aware of that.

"The election does give Rouhani a mandate to push things through", Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of London-based management consultant Cornerstone Global Associates, said in an interview in Dubai on Sunday. "They should have polling stations in place for the people and let the rulers not be on a hereditary basis".

Sanders applauded the high voter turnout, writing on Twitter over the weekend that "Iranians show the world how it's done".

He said that Saudis should know that terrorism is a big threat to the world and there is no choice except for moderation.

Rouhani's efforts to open up Iran to less hostile relations with the West still have to be couched in the rhetoric of anti-Americanism that has been a pillar of Iranian rule since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

The US stance against Iran is "deceptive and destructive" and attempts to undermine the sovereignty of the regional states besides supporting Israel, Qasemi said.

The West's repeal of nuclear sanctions, that followed his landmark deal, was not followed by the expected foreign investment because the unilateral U.S. sanctions remained in place. Foreign partners have preserved their fear that if they start business with an Iranian company, they may face US-imposed penalties on the grounds that their Iranian partners have had relations with entities under sets of United States sanctions that are not subject to the nuclear deal and remain binding.

Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, told Congress this week that he was reviewing contracts arising out of the deal that allowed USA aircraft manufacturers to sell their products to Iran.

At the Tehran press conference, Rouhani also defended Iran's ballistic missile program, something heavily criticised by Trump's new administration.

On Monday, Rouhani, however, said that Iran will continue to test its missiles anytime if there is a "technical need", and it will not seek the permission of any other country to do so.



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