Iranian President Sheikh Hasan Rouhani said that restoring ties with Saudi Arabia is a priority, but stressed that Riyadh is the one who must take the initiative to restore the relations with Tehran.

Diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been severed since angry protesters rallied before the Saudi embassy in Tehran following the January 2 execution of high-ranking Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr who opposed the Saudi regime’s violations of human rights.Iranian President Sheikh Hasan Rouhani

Speaking to FRANCE 24 in an interview during his historic visit to Paris, Rouhani condemned the attack on the Saudi embassy.

‘We condemned this action. Our responsibility was to find the culprits of the attack. We have found them, we arrested them. They are in prison,’ said Rouhani, referring to the attack on Saudi mission.

Saudi Arabia’s moves to cut diplomatic ties “were not proportionate to the incidents”, Rouhani said, adding that the Persian Gulf monarchy was “muddling the game”.

“What is certain is that the country that broke off our relations must be the one to try to restore them,” he added.

“When you look at Iran and the United States, there are quite a few–difficult questions that have been present for the past 30 years. It will be difficult to resolve all of them in a short time,” said Rouhani about relations with Washington, IRNA news agency reported.

“The United States was at the same negotiating table as Iran [during the nuclear talks in Vienna], which was something unimaginable only a few years ago,” Rouhani added.

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Rouhani’s interview came at the end of a historic visit to France following the start of a gradual lifting of nuclear sanctions in January.

The visit was dominated by bilateral trade deals between major French and Iranian companies. These included a memorandum of understanding between Iran Air and Airbus for the purchase of 118 Airbus aircraft worth around €23 billion.

Al-Manar

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