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Iran waiting for "serious changes" before US dialogue - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iranian president-elect Hassan Rowhani (C) attends the weekly Friday prayer with Shi'ite Muslim worshippers during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan on July 12, 2013 at the university of the Iranian capital, Tehran (AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE)

Iranian president-elect Hassan Rouhani (C) attends the weekly Friday prayer with Shi’ite Muslim worshippers during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan on July 12, 2013, at the university of the Iranian capital, Tehran. (AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—An Iranian government spokesman said on Tuesday that Iran will wait for “serious changes and practical moves” from the US before considering reestablishing relations between Tehran and Washington.

Speaking to reporters during a weekly press conference, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi said: “The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to initiate negotiations with all countries, apart from some exceptions. That is the reason why Western and European countries are willing to hold talks with Iran.”

“However, in terms of negotiations with America, it is beyond showing green lights to the other party. We will wait for the US’s practical moves and serious changes in their policies,” Araqchi said.

“As our experience in the past proved, pleasing words do not suffice. The US’s behaviour in practice is what constitutes our criterion to change our view of the interaction with them,” he added.

Araqchi made the comments a few days after the White House announced that it is ready to hold direct negotiations with the new Iranian president’s administration over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Additionally, a group of almost 30 former American officials, military officers and academics—including one of the diplomats held hostage in Iran following the seizure of the US Embassy in 1979—wrote to President Obama on Monday, urging him to re-start talks with Iran over its controversial nuclear program, following the election of the moderate Hassan Rouhani as Iran’s next president in June.

However, other reports say that while it is willing to talk, the White House is as yet resistant to altering its position, which has so far proved unacceptable to Iran.

Rouhani is due to take office in August.

Araqchi also commented on remarks by the former British foreign secretary Jack Straw on his desire to travel to Iran.

He said: “The Foreign Ministry has not received any official requests. We would welcome such interest in traveling to Iran.”

Jack Straw told BBC Persian on Monday, July 15, that he was willing to travel to Iran with a colleague as co-chairs of the British–Iran Parliamentary Group.

“If Mr. Straw is willing to see a change in London–Tehran [relations], the initiatives must be taken from the UK side to resume ties. Iran did not favor the cutting of its diplomatic ties with the UK,” Araqchi added.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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