Photographer: Brendan Smialowski/Bloomberg

Wanted: More Sensible People in U.S. Congress, Iran Leader Says

  • Rouhani says no problem with U.S. investors coming to Iran
  • Iran president's Europe visit fuels multibillion-dollar deals

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he has no problem with U.S. investors joining the post-sanctions business rush to his country, adding the obstacle is Washington and that he hopes for “more sensible people” in Congress.

Asked whether U.S. investors would be welcome in the Islamic Republic, Rouhani told a news conference at the end of a three-day visit to Rome: “If they want to come to Iran and do business in Iran, we have no problem with that.” Rouhani said Washington “holds the key to better relations with Iran.”

“The U.S. should stop putting pressure on Iran. They have not learned that the era of sanctions is over. We hope we will get more sensible people in the U.S. Congress,” Rouhani said.

He also voiced frustration at American politics: “Right now in the U.S. there is no single voice, there are differences between the Congress and the administration.”

Head Start

Italy reached business deals worth about 20 billion euros ($22 billion) with Iran during Rouhani’s visit, as Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi seeks to give his country a head start in the race for newly opening markets in Iran.

Rouhani denounced Saudi Arabia, saying it was “taking its anger out on us” and “needs to calm down” in the wake of tensions following the execution of Saudi cleric Nimr al-Nimr, a critic of the kingdom’s treatment of its Shiite minority.

Rouhani said of Saudi Arabia: “They should apologize because they are helping the terrorists. Because of their mismanagement thousands of people were killed in the Hajj pilgrimage, they are the ones who should apologize to Muslims.”

After the news conference, Rouhani visited the Colosseum before he was due to fly on to Paris where he is expected to sign contracts to purchase Airbus Group SE jetliners to replace his country’s aging fleet.

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