Iran open to economic ties with US despite differences: FM Zarif

Tasnim – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran is open to economic relations with the US despite the existing differences between the two countries.

“China, Russia and India remain our important partners. They have been with us during our difficult times. But we are interested in expanding our relations with the EU; we are interested in expanding our traditionally good relations with the rest of Asia, with Japan, with Korea,” Zarif said on Wednesday while addressing the World Economic Forum underway in the Swiss city of Davos.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Zarif arrived in Davos on Tuesday night. The Davos meeting will continue until Friday.

He added, “…and we are open to economic relations even with the United States. So while we have our political differences with the United States, we are not closed to economic relations (with it) as the deal we signed with Boeing indicates”.

Iran sealed a major deal in June worth around $25 billion with the US aerospace heavyweight, Boeing, for the purchase of 100 passenger planes. In December, the deal with Boeing was finalized, allowing Iran to buy 80 planes within 10 years. The first deliveries are expected in 2018.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian foreign minister referred to the Syrian peace talks scheduled to be held in the Kazakh capital of Astana next week, saying, “What has brought Iran, Turkey and Russia together to end the Syrian crisis is the fact that extremism knows no border.”

Syria has been gripped by civil war since March 2011 with various terrorist groups, including Daesh (ISIL), currently controlling parts of it.

Diplomatic efforts to end fighting in Syria have gained momentum in recent weeks with the announcement of a ceasefire in the Arab country earlier this month.

The truce, which has been negotiated between Russia, Iran, Turkey, the Damascus government and the Syrian opposition, excludes terrorist groups such as Daesh and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.

It will be followed by a new round of peace talks between the Syrian government and foreign-sponsored opposition groups in Astana on January 23.