Rouhani: US Should Apologize

Rouhani: US Should Apologize Rouhani: US Should Apologize

The nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers could lead to better relations between Tehran and Washington if the United States apologized for past behavior and modified its policies, President Hassan Rouhani was quoted as saying on Thursday.

The president, who championed the July 14 deal, has pushed for closer engagement with the West since his 2013 landslide election win.

In an interview with Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper, Rouhani suggested that the United States and Iran could open embassies in each other's capitals after decades of mutual hostility, but said Washington should apologize.

"One day these embassies will reopen but what counts is behavior and the Americans hold the key to this," Rouhani told the newspaper ahead of a trip to Italy this weekend, his first to a European capital.

***Situation Could Change

"If they modify their policies, correct errors committed in these 37 years and apologize to the Iranian people, the situation will change and good things can happen."

Iran and Washington severed ties shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution when students seized the US embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage for over a year.

Relations came under further pressure in the last decade due to the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.

Under the nuclear deal reached in July, Iran will curb its nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions on its economy. Tehran denies western claims it may have sought to develop an atomic bomb.

Rouhani said Washington would have to fulfill its part of the nuclear accord for relations to improve.

The United States approved conditional sanctions waivers for Iran, though these will not take effect until Tehran has complied with the terms of the accord.

"The way this agreement is applied can have an impact on the future," Rouhani said.

"If it is well applied, it can lay the foundation for fewer tensions with the United States, creating the conditions to open a new era. But if the Americans don't respect their part of the nuclear accord, then surely our relationship will remain as it has been in the past."

Rouhani is due to meet the Italian prime minister and business leaders during his Nov. 14-15 visit to Rome and will also hold talks with Pope Francis. He will then fly to Paris for talks on Nov. 16-17.