Rohani: Iran Is Not a Threat to the World, Believes in Moderation

Iranian president seems to distance himself from comments made by Khamenei, who said U.S should not be trusted.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani poses before delivering a speech marking Nowruz, the Iranian new year, in Tehran. March 20, 2016.

REUTERS - Iranian President Hassan Rohani said on Thursday his country was not a threat to any other nation and that it wanted interaction with the rest of the world, state TV reported.

"We are in favor of a policy of moderation ... Iran is not a threat to any country ... Tehran wants interaction with the world, with its neighboring countries," Rohani said at a gathering to mark National Nuclear Technology Day that was broadcast live on state TV.

"With moderation we can reach our goals faster ... Trusting or distrusting others cannot be 100 percent ... To progress, we need to have interaction with the world," he said.

Rohani's comments stand in contrast to statements from Iran's top authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has ruled out any further rapprochement with the United States since the conclusion of a historic nuclear deal that ended years of Iran's political and economic isolation.

The deal, reached with six major powers in 2015, led to Iran curbing its nuclear program in exchange for lifting of sanctions in January. A standoff between Rouhani's government, which saw the deal through, and Khamenei's hardline allies who opposed it, has intensified in the past few months.

Earlier this week, Khamenei said that the United States was a "symbol of dishonesty" and that it should not be trusted, emphasizing that Iran should be self-sufficient.