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Rouhani says Iran is ready to resume nuclear talks
TEHRAN, Iran AP Iran is ready for serious and swift talks with world powers over its controversial nuclear program, the countrys new president said Tuesday, echoing his own earlier calls for a better dialogue with the West.
The remarks by Hasan Rouhani came at his first news conference as Irans president. The moderate cleric won a landslide victory in June presidential elections and took the oath of office on Sunday.
We are ready to engage in serious and substantial talks without wasting time, Rouhani said, but warned that Irans interactions with the West should be based on talks, not threats.
Many Iranians and foreign diplomats hope Rouhani, a former top nuclear negotiator, can strike a more conciliatory tone in the talks. Four rounds of negotiations since last year have failed to make significant headway. and its allies fear Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon, a charge Tehran denies, saying its atomic program is meant for peaceful purposes only, such as power generation and medical isotopes.
Rouhani replaced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who struck a hardline approach when dealing with the West and its sanctions over Irans nuclear program. The sanctions have hit the countrys economy hard, decimating its vital oil exports and blocking transactions on international banking networks.
Though all Iranian policies, including the nuclear issue, are firmly in the hands of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a strong president can influence decisionmaking. Rouhani has in the past said that he would make it his priority to get the sanctions against Iran lifted.
I, as the president of Iran, announce that Iran has a serious political will to solve the nuclear problem while protecting the rights of the Iranian people at the same time as it seeks to remove concerns of the other party, Rouhani told reporters in Tehran.
Earlier on Tuesday, the European Unions foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, called on Rouhani to schedule meaningful talks on the nuclear issue as soon as possible. Security Council nations plus Germany stand ready to continue talks to find a resolution as quickly as possible.
Rouhani has repeatedly said that he believes its possible to strike an agreement that would allow the Islamic Republic to keep enriching uranium the core issue at the center of the nuclear controversy and a potential pathway to atomic weapons while assuring the West it will not produce nuclear arms.
On Tuesday, he said uranium enrichment is Irans right, as it is for any other country, but that he would look to remove mutual concerns, achieve mutual interests and a winwin deal for both sides.
In efforts to get Iran to account for its nuclear ambitions, President Barack Obama and other Western leaders remain publicly committed to diplomacy though they stress military options against Iranian nuclear sites are not off the table.
Rouhani indicated he would not have any problem to talk directly to Washington and to whoever wants to talk to us in good will .
Irans president said that pressure wont work. Not true! The only thing that has worked in the last two decades is pressure. And the only thing that will work now is increased pressure, Netanyahu said in comments released by his office Tuesday.