Iran Open to Business Ties With US

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a meeting on the second day of the World Economic Forum, on January 18 in Davos.Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a meeting on the second day of the World Economic Forum, on January 18 in Davos.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran is open to economic relations with the US, despite differences between the two sides.

"China, Russia and India remain our important partners. They have been with us during difficult times. But we are interested in expanding our relations with the EU. We are interested in expanding our traditionally good relations with the rest of Asia, with Japan, with Korea," he said.

Zarif made the statements at a panel in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Tasnim News Agency reported.

"We are open to economic relations even with the United States. So while we have our political differences with the United States, we are not closed to economic relations, as the deal we signed with Boeing indicates," he added.

After the historic nuclear deal with major powers, which came into force in January last year, Iran signed a deal with the US planemaker to purchase 80 jetliners as part of a plan to revamp its aging aviation fleet.

Zarif also said US president-elect, Donald Trump, "will be surprised" if he tries to renegotiate the hard-won nuclear deal.

The top diplomat noted that he's taking a "wait-and-see" attitude about the Trump administration and "the jury is out."

 Not End of World

Pressed by the AP afterward on Wednesday, Zarif said it "won't be the end of the world if he [Trump] tries to walk away from the deal [officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action]".

"He wants to surprise people, so he will be surprised," if he does, Zarif said with a smile, without elaborating. Zarif also criticized the outgoing administration of Barack Obama, saying it "did not implement their side of the bargain in a full and complete way" notably about difficulties faced by Iranian banks.

In addition, he told the panel that Iran and Saudi Arabia should be able to work together to help end conflicts in Syria and Yemen, after successfully cooperating over Lebanon last year, Reuters reported.

"I do not see any reason why Iran and Saudi Arabia should have hostile policies toward each other. We can in fact work together to put an end to miserable conditions of the people in Syria and Yemen and Bahrain and elsewhere in the region," Zarif said.

"Iran and Saudi Arabia were able to actually stop impeding the process of the presidential election in Lebanon. We have a success story."

Michel Aoun, a Christian leader, was recently elected president of Lebanon and Iran welcomed Aoun's election as a victory for Hezbollah.

Watch the interview: 

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