US Needs to Make Amends for the Past

US Needs to Make Amends for the Past US Needs to Make Amends for the Past

Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani says an early rapprochement between Iran and the United States in the wake of the recent historic nuclear deal with major powers is unlikely, stressing the US first needs to "make amends for the past."

The chairman of the Expediency Council made the comments in a recent interview with Al-Monitor published on Thursday.  

Asked how he assesses the prospects of political cooperation between Iran and the United States, the veteran statesman said, "The path before Iran and America is not as straightforward as that of (Iran and) other western countries.

"Because from (even) before the (1979) revolution up until now, there has always been the image in Iran that America is behind every impediment and obstruction against Iran. However, it seems that the Americans want to somewhat distance themselves from the past, and this is something that must be proven (in action).

Commenting on the Obama administration's policy on the nuclear talks with Iran, which culminated in a landmark settlement last month, Rafsanjani said, "In regard to the nuclear issue, (the Americans) have acted fairly well up until now.

"We see that officials from their executive branch, who are from the Democratic party, are engaged (in clashes) with the Republicans, and that their secretary of state (John Kerry), their president (Barack Obama) and other individuals are declaring their positions very explicitly."

  Bottom Line

He emphasized, "In my view, the bottom line has always been that America must somehow make amends for the past and vindicate itself in the minds of the people of Iran. Some of America's positive policies for resolving the nuclear issue might have been effective so far."  

On the implications of the nuclear breakthrough for Iran's ties with Arab states, especially relations with Riyadh, the former president said, "We do not inherently have any issues with Saudi Arabia or other Arab countries, because they are Islamic, and we see cooperation with them as a priority in our Constitution."

However, he said, "Recent events in the region, meaning the events in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain, are among the issues that have created a distance."

"Of course, if the Iranian government and (its Arab counterparts) decide to work together, things won't be difficult and will be as they were in the past. It is possible to normalize the situation with a swift move for the sake of the Muslim world as a whole. I really believe it is possible. However, we have to see where these events lead, which is very important."

On the assertion by some domestic opponents of the nuclear deal that the negotiators have given away too much in talks with world powers, he said, "I think those who express opposition are making a mistake."

"There was no retreat; we maintained our position and all of our nuclear infrastructural needs are preserved. Moreover, our research and development will be pursued seriously, which is very important for us. Even if the (restrictions under the deal) didn't exist, we would need time for research as our current means of enrichment is elementary and cannot provide for our (industrial) needs."