Syria War Has Political Solution

Syria War Has Political SolutionSyria War Has Political Solution

President Hassan Rouhani said politics, not fighting, will help end the war in Syria.

"What is of utmost importance is to understand that Syria doesn't have a military solution," Rouhani told NBC on Wednesday. "And the Syrians' problems must certainly be resolved politically."

Fighting has devastated the Arab country, with more than 400,000 people estimated to have been killed since 2011 and 11 million more displaced.

The president stressed that Syria's boundaries and territory should remain unchanged and that the country's leadership should be decided by voters.

"The rule of the ballot box and the rule of the Syrian people and the will of the Syrian people should be the sole determinant of the future of the country," he said.

Rouhani dismissed US Secretary of State John Kerry's demand on Wednesday that Syria and Russia ground all aircraft in the northern part of the country after the bombing of a humanitarian convoy threatened a precarious ceasefire.

Doing so, Rouhani said, would help the self-styled Islamic State and Nusra Front, two terror groups fighting the Syrian government.

"They must be kept under pressure," Rouhani said. "If we ground planes, it would 100% benefit them."

Rouhani pointed out that American military aircraft last Saturday bombed a Syrian government installation—the United States has called it a mistake—that killed 90 Syrian troops.

  No Nuclear Deal Renegotiation

The Iranian chief executive also discussed the agreement reached last year, which restricted Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for the loosening of economic sanctions.

Rouhani accused the US Treasury Department of making it hard for banks and other financial institutions from doing business with Iran. He stressed that Iran has no intention of building nuclear weapons after the agreement expires after eight years.

The president dismissed American criticism of the deal, particularly from US Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump who has called it a horrible deal that he would renegotiate. US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has said she would "distrust and verify" Iran's commitment to the agreement.

Rouhani said no single country, or president, could unravel the agreement, which included seven countries and the United Nations and is policed by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"Candidates can bring up any topic that they see best suits their campaigns," Rouhani said.

"No one can say here or there that I don't accept this agreement, I want to renegotiate."