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Iranian president calls US relations 'a curvy road'

23 May 2017

Rouhani, the face of Tehran's deal with six major powers in 2015 to curb Iran's nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions, said the US administration lacked knowledge about the Middle East. He won one of the most polarised elections in Iran's recent history, one in which the clerical establishment backed a candidate who was running against a sitting President.

At a weekend summit in Riyadh, Trump accused Iran of funding and arming "terrorists, militias and other extremist groups" in Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and backing President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil war.

France has said it backs Trump's call to strengthen the monitoring of the deal, but that it is committed to implementing it, including the lifting of sanctions. "Now it's Rouhani's turn to keep his promises", said coffee shop owner Arash Geranmayeh, 29, reached by telephone in Tehran.

He said people in the U.S. would not be willing "to exchange what they lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks for certain sums and then forgive those acts".

"We've achieved what I wanted, which was not Mr Rouhani himself, but the path of reform, freedom and progress", said Pegah, a 25-year-old in the crowd.

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The remarks came three days after he won Iran's presidential election, securing another four-year term.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gives a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Monday, May 22, 2017.

He made veiled criticisms at security agencies that control large swathes of the Iranian economy and have sought to block his efforts to privatise and attract foreign investment.

Rouhani also slammed Saudi Arabia, saying that the kingdom "has never seen a ballot box" while Iran just hosted a successful presidential election in which over 40 million people voted.

Washington last week imposed new sanctions on Iran, over its ballistic missile programme.

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The report said Iranian officials have a tendency to hype the level of interest, however, noting that global energy companies would invest only if their terms are advantageous. "We don't need their permission". Our missiles are for peace and for defence.

The president, to a crowd that included leaders of more than 50 Muslim-majority countries, said his goal isn't to "lecture" people how to live, but to offer "partnership".

We recently asked you to support our journalism. But for most voters only two mattered, both of them clerics with very different views for the country's future: Rouhani and hard-line law professor and former prosecutor Ebrahim Raisi.

The Iranian nuclear deal has been heavily criticized by some Republican members of the US Congress and by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Conservative clerics were also angered by the fact that men and women danced together in the streets of Tehran following Rouhani's election victory, testing the country's strict segregation rules, Reuters reported.

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Iranian president calls US relations 'a curvy road'