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Rouhani tries to woo oil firms to invest in Iran

Iran's president addressed oil executives at the World Economic Forum.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos on 23 January 2014. Picture: World Economic Forum.

JOHANNESBURG - Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has told the World Economic Forum's annual meeting his country only wants to use nuclear technology for "peaceful applications" and is not looking to create weapons of mass destruction.

Rouhani delivered a special address to oil company executive on the second day of the global gathering currently being held in Davos.

However, Iran's leader warned it would not "accept any obstacles on the way of its scientific progress".

The country recently signed a deal with several world powers detailing an easing of sanctions in return for the Persian state slowing its nuclear programmes.

"To those who are under the influence of propaganda and still believe Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, I strongly and clearly declare that nuclear weapons have no place in our security strategy and that Iran has no motivation to move in that direction," he told executives from several of the world's leading oil companies.

"Indeed, any type of limitation or economic sanction will, instead of aiding understanding and common security, merely exacerbate diversions."

Rouhani added: "Creating obstacles on the way of the development of nations will only add to animosities and cynicism, and fail."

STRONG FINANCIAL FUTURE

The president spoke strongly about Iran's economic outlook and he invited the business leaders to invest in his country.

He said Iran's economy has the potential to be among the world's top ten in the next 30 years.

"Let me be clear, I view Iran's economy as the most congruent, capable and closest to that of successful emerging economies and envision Iran's place alongside them in the future.

"Without international engagement objectives such as growth, creativity and quality are unattainable. The reality is that among developing countries and in the Middle East Iran enjoys one of the highest human development index rates."

Rouhani also said his government was working to improve its relations with a number of Middle Eastern, Asian and Western countries.

"We will make use of active foreign policy to achieve economic development. My government is fully prepared and ready to engage with all neighbouring countries to achieve shared practical solutions and sustainable legal regimes on a range of issues, such as the environment, joint economic projects, trade expansion, realisation of the Palestinian people's rights, tackling the humanitarian crisis in Syria, security of the Persian Gulf, as well as the fight against terrorism and extremism."

When quizzed about his view on the Syrian crisis, Rouhani strongly condemned the role of terrorists in the ongoing conflict, saying it was in everyone's interests to fight "terrorism and extremism".

He said it was ultimately the people of Syria who had to determine their futures through free and fair elections.

For more news, analysis and information on the World Economic Forum's annual meeting visit our special feature page.