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Iran's President: ‘Washington asked to negotiate in secret'

December 4, 2019 at 12:58 am

Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani greets people during the 33rd International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, Iran on 14 November, 2019 [Iranian Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency]

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that his country had received “secret messages” from the US administration, through European mediators, about launching talks. Rouhani insisted that “this is contrary to the slogans they (US officials) raise publicly,” and expressed Tehran’s readiness “to restore relations with Saudi Arabia and overcome past disputes.”

The Iranian president’s comments on Washington’s request came ahead of a meeting with Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi.

War in Yemen

During his meeting with the Omani minister, Rouhani indicated that “the war on Yemen has achieved nothing but destruction, killing people, creating hostility and hatred between the peoples of the two countries (Saudi Arabia and Yemen), in addition to threatening the territorial integrity of Yemen. He also pointed out that “despite the public statements issued by Europe and the US, both sides do not want peace in Yemen, because the continuity of this war will enable them to sell more weapons.”

Rouhani called on “all parties to consecrate efforts to end the war on Yemen quickly, and ensure stability and security through embarking peace negotiations between the warring Yemeni sides.”

Relations with Saudi Arabia

On the other hand, the Iranian president stressed his country’s readiness to resume ties with Saudi Arabia, calling on the countries of the region to “overcome the past and look for prospects of future cooperation to solve the region’s problems.” He insisted that “there is no other way to end the crisis than strengthening friendship and brotherhood between the countries and peoples of the region.”

However, he asserted that “the policies of the Saudi government in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon have not achieved again,” expressing hope that “Saudi officials will change the course of these policies.”

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Rouhani called for “the need for effective participation of the countries of the region in ensuring security in the area.” He also noted that Iran has put forward the Hormuz peace initiative in this direction,” while calling for expanding multilateral cooperation to re-install security in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz “away from foreign interference.” The Iranian president further stressed the importance of Iran–Oman relations.