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Iran’s Rouhani Woos World Elite With Syria Election Call

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made a pitch toward ending years of international isolation Thursday, claiming the spotlight at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Rouhani appeared to support American calls for free and fair elections in Syria, saying “all should accept” the results, and said Iran is ready to do business and cooperate on global issues.

“The best solution is to organize free and fair elections inside Syria,” he told delegates at forum, an annual gathering of the world's most power movers and shakers. “No outside parties or power can decide for the Syrian people and Syria as a country. We should all come together to help the people.

“Whatever will come out of this, all should accept,” he added in his wide-ranging speech to business leaders and politicians.

Rouhani did not mention that United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon withdrew Iran's invite to attend the Syrian peace talks currently taking place in Geneva, after Tehran said it didn't support the June 2012 political transition deal that is the basis for the talks.

However he called the recent engagement between Iran and the U.S “a major development," although he said the international community’s position on Iran’s nuclear technology ambitions over the last decade, “illogical and incorrect.”

“Iran, in pursuing its nuclear energy has never sought, nor seeks anything other than peaceful applications of this technology and will not accept any obstacles on the way of its scientific progress,” he said, adding that intensifying sanctions "will have no results except direct and indirect costs for all parties.”

Iran also hoped to open up trade negotiations with both their near neighbors and Europe, he said.