01/23/2014, 00.00
IRAN
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World Economic Forum: Rouhani opens Iran to world economy

The Iranian president stresses the great potential of Iran's economy whose economic and human development can only be achieved by working with others. Nuclear deal is the first step for long-term relationship with international community.

Davos (AsiaNews) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhan outlined his country's future economic and political moves at the World Economic Forum, currently underway in Davos.

Pointing to the global economic crisis of the past six years, President Rouhani said that no country could solve its own problems whilst ignoring those of others. Economic well-being goes with social responsibility and no country can accept someone else's domination.

"Iran's economy has the potential to be among world's top 10 in next three decades," Rouhani said. Hence, his government wants to pursue "constructive engagement" with the world. "Only through co-operation and engagement can we provide a better life" and boost the creativity of the people.

"The reality is that among developing countries, and in the Middle East, Iran enjoys one of the highest Human Development Index rates," Rouhani said. To this end, Iran wants to develop its resources and conduct an active international policy.

The Iranian president's overtures, which are directed to neighbouring states, the Gulf countries included, as well as the United States and Europe, are not limited to economics.

In fact, Tehran "wants to solve the ongoing conflicts in the region," including the Syrian crisis, and fight Islamic extremism and terrorism, which according to Rouhani thrive where there is ignorance, poverty and despair. In his view, the "expansion of economic, social, cultural and tourism cooperation plays a pivotal role in establishment of peace and security in the region".

After his speech, the Iranian president answered a few questions addressed to him by Klaus Schwab, head of the World Economic Forum, related to Iran's nuclear program, the war in Syria and the possibility of "real" cooperation with all countries of the world, an implicit reference to Israel.

For Rouhani, the recent nuclear deal signed in Geneva on 24 November "is prelude to future agreements. What we agreed on was not temporary but rather the beginning of a long-term process" with Tehran's international partners.

Speaking about Syria, the Iranian leader reiterated Foreign Minister Zarif's long-standing views on the issue: opposition to terrorism, support for peaceful democratic elections, and no reference to Assad's departure.

Rouhani took advantage of the informal atmosphere of the meeting to avoid questions about future relations "with all countries of the world", which Schwab repeated three times to emphasise the implicit reference to Israel whose prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is also at the forum.

"There are no exceptions; we wish for a better future and to have beneficial relations with all" the countries "we recognize," Rouhani said. "We've had disputes with certain countries, but we would want to see a better future, and achieve peace with everyone".

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