Iran: Break with US won't last forever

Updated: 2008-01-27 10:19

DAVOS - Iran's foreign minister said on Saturday he could envisage the Islamic Republic resuming diplomatic ties with the United States one day but that many hurdles remained to normal relations.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran Manouchehr Mottaki speaks during a session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos January 26, 2008. [Agencies]

Manouchehr Mottaki said Tehran was not committed to "cutting relations with the United States forever", despite tensions with Washington over its nuclear programme and US accusations that Iran has fomented violence in neighbouring Iraq.

Iran regularly calls for a change in behaviour from the United States, which cut diplomatic ties in 1980.

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"How and when this relationship can take place again, it depends on so many factors," Mottaki told reporters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss alpine town of Davos..

Asked if this year's US presidential election could mark a turning point in relations, he said: "We are trying not to look at the individuals, to the parties, but the policies."

Mottaki said he had not detected any change in the US approach towards his country, but his measured comments followed a speech to the forum by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice which included a conciliatory note towards Tehran.

After weeks of anti-Iranian rhetoric by the Bush administration, Rice said on Wednesday that Washington had no desire for Iran to be a permanent enemy.

Rice said the nuclear standoff could be resolved diplomatically and offered the prospect of normal ties if Iran gave up sensitive nuclear work - a demand Iran has rejected.

The West believes Iran's work is aimed at building an atomic bomb and six major powers including the United States have drafted proposals for a third round of UN sanctions to punish Iran for not halting uranium enrichment.

Iran says the nuclear work is for peaceful power generation.

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