Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is demanding that the Obama administration pay Tehran reparations for "hostile policies" that have cost the Iranian people "much loss and damage," according to the country’s state-run media.
Rouhani said that reparations from the United States would make him more willing to negotiate in good faith with the United States and increase steps to broaden ties between the nations, according to an interview he gave Wednesday evening on China’s CCTV network.
Although Rouhani did not outline a monetary figure he believes would be acceptable to placate the Iranian people, he told CCTV that the "Iranian people have suffered a lot as a result of the hostile policies of the U.S." and that he "expect[s] White House politicians to abandon their past behavior of ignoring Iranians’ interests," according to excerpts of the interview published by Iran’s state-run Fars News Agency.
"The U.S. should take steps in the direction of respecting the rights of the Iranian nation and at the same time undertake to compensate for the losses inflicted on Iran," Rouhani was quoted as telling CCTV during an interview from China, where he is meeting with officials to "strengthen ties" between the countries.
Rouhani’s call for reparations from Washington came just a day before he told Chinese officials in a separate press conference that Tehran is "in no hurry, neither in negotiations nor in reaching the final agreement" with Western nations over its contested nuclear program.
While officials in Washington have not discussed potential compensation for Iran, the White House has significantly rolled back sanctions on the country, significantly boosting its economy, and released upwards of $7 billion in frozen assets.
These gestures are not enough, Rouhani said, outlining the "loss and damage" Iran has incurred "from U.S. hostile policies," such as economic sanctions.
"If the U.S., in practice, abandons its hostile policy toward the Iranian nation and compensates for its past [antagonism], a new situation can be envisaged for the future of both nations," Rouhani was quoted as saying.
If the "rights of Iranians are respected" by the United States there could be potential for a "dialog between the representatives of both nations," Rouhani said.
With the interim nuclear accord signed between Iran and Western powers nearing its expiration date in July, Rouhani said that he is in "no hurry" to reach a final deal over the country’s nuclear program.
"We are in no hurry, neither in negotiations nor in reaching the final agreement," he said during a press conference Thursday in Shanghai. "However, we believe that reaching a conclusion would benefit both sides."
Iran has blamed the United States for the holdup in talks, claiming that American negotiators are making "excessive demands" that go too far.
As negotiations drag on, the significant repeal of U.S. economic sanctions has boosted Iran’s economy.
Oil exports, for instance, have soared and companies from across the globe have been clamoring to reenter the lucrative Iranian marketplace.
"Even when these companies are not finalizing deals, Tehran has been adept at turning the sharp increase in trade delegations visiting Iran and other indicators of renewed interest in the Iranian economy into news stories that improve market sentiment," Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), wrote in a recent op-ed.
"This has translated into economic gains: According to recent reports from the IMF and World Bank, Iran has nearly halved its 40 percent plus inflation rate, is stabilizing its previously plummeting currency, and is projected for positive growth after losing 6-7 percent in GDP between 2012 and 2014," Dubowitz wrote.
Several of the companies that have been making overtures to Iran were found to have lucrative U.S. government contracts worth billions, according to recent Washington Free Beacon reports.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.