BERLIN - Iran wants to improve bilateral relations with the United States and other Western powers, President Hassan Rouhani said in comments published in a German newspaper on Monday, broaching an issue he has so far avoided since he took office.
"We want to rebuild and improve our relations to European and North American countries on a basis of mutual respect," he said in a contribution prepared for Project Syndicate, which distributed it to its member publications including Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung following approval by Iran's Permanent Mission to the United Nations.
"We are striving to avoid new burdens on relations between Iran and the United States and also to remove the tensions that we have inherited," said Rouhani, who has promised to reduce Tehran's isolation and to win an easing of sanctions.
Tehran and Washington severed relations after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.
Iran cannot forget everything that has affected relations with the United States over the last 60 years, he said, but added: "We must now concentrate on the present and orientate ourselves towards the future."