President Hassan Rohani says Iran and the United States “have taken the first steps” towards diminishing the enmity that has marked their bilateral relations for decades by reaching the nuclear accord.

President Hassan Rohani

President Hassan Rohani

Rohani said in an interview with the CBS news program 60 Minutes that “the distance, the differences of opinion and lack of trust cannot be resolved so fast” but he added that “what is important is to see in what directions we’re headed… In my opinion we have taken the first steps toward reducing enmity.”

President Rohani is set to attend the annual meeting of the UN Security Council in New York this month.

Iran and the 5+1 reached a deal in July in Vienna, and there has been much speculation on whether the deal will result in improved relations between Iran and the U.S.

That speculation, however, has triggered a conservative backlash in Iran, and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said in a speech last week that the U.S. must not be allowed to impose any form of influence on Iran.

President Rohani told 60 Minutes interview he is certain the deal will be approved by Iran’s Parliament and the Supreme Council of National Security, emphasizing that a majority of Iranians view the deal in a positive light and that “government bodies are not too far from public opinion and usually move in the same direction.”

The Iranian president also stated that the “Death to America” chants in Iran are not “a slogan against the people of America”.

“The U.S. policies have been against the national interests of the people of Iran and we cannot forget the past; however, we also need to look to the future,” Rohani said.

Iran’s Supreme Leader has announced that negotiations between Iran and the U.S. were restricted to the nuclear issue and there will be no bilateral discussions of any other issue.
Rohani is set to begin a five-day visit to New York on September 24.