Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. AP Photo.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says that Tehran is not seeking regional hegemony but rather working for a strong region and better relations.
“We don’t want to be the region’s strong country. Our long-term goal is to have a strong region,” Rouhani told Iranian state TV.
Rouhani said that the lifting of sanctions by the western powers after the nuclear deal now gives Iran an opportunity to build new ties with the world and its neighbors.
“During the sanctions our options were limited. We could only have trade relations with two or three countries,” he said according to BBC Persian, adding that the situation is now different and the end of sanctions means “we should benefit from all countries at this time.”
Rouhani stressed the importance of his country’s relations with non-western countries such as Russia, China and Japan, adding meanwhile that Iran welcomes American companies and investors.
In the interview Rouhani criticized the actions of “some neighboring countries” without naming any specific country, saying that they treat Iran in immature ways.
He added that Tehran is willing to have good relations with states in the region if the good will is reciprocated.