Iranian presidential hopeful Hassan Rohani has raised the possibility of establishing direct relations with the United States so long as national interests are not compromised.
“It is not that Iran has to remain angry with the United States forever and have no relations with them,” he said. “Under appropriate conditions, where national interests are protected, this situation has to change.”
He said the current relations are “hostile”, and “the U.S. uses every excuse to pressure Iran and encourages other countries to follow suit.”
He said this approach is not beneficial to Iran, the U.S. or the region, adding: “We have to gradually defuse this hostility, take it down a notch to a tense relationship, and then move toward reducing the tensions.”
Rohani went on to say that in 2003, a possible U.S. attack on Iran was a serious concern, but Iranian diplomacy and adequate frameworks established by government heads prevented the attack.
According to Rohani, Iran’s Supreme Leader later lauded Iranian diplomacy as the “correct strategy” for warding off a war and providing Iran with the opportunity to attain “completion of its nuclear technology.”
Hassan Rohani, Iran’s former chief nuclear negotiator, is planning to run in the presidential election under the reformist banner.
Reformists have been mostly pushed out of the political arena since the 2009 election, and the two reformist candidates from that year are currently under house arrest for making allegations of vote fraud and triggering widespread mass protests. Rohani, however, presents himself as a moderate reformist.