Iran's new leader Rouhani urges 'serious' nuclear talks


President Rouhani: "The Iranian nation's intent is to interact respectfully with the whole world"

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has called for "serious and substantive" negotiations with the international community about its nuclear programme.

At the first news conference since his inauguration on Sunday, Mr Rouhani said he was confident both sides' concerns could be resolved in a short time.

But a solution could be reached solely through "talks, not threats", he added.

The US has said Mr Rouhani's presidency presents an opportunity for Iran to resolve the world's "deep concerns".

"Should this new government choose to engage substantively and seriously to meet its international obligations and find a peaceful solution to this issue, it will find a willing partner in the United States," it added.


President Rouhani's message to the US government was that if it wished to engage directly with Iran, it needed to distance itself from "pressure groups" inside Congress who were "bewildering" it. He repeatedly pushed the narrative that pro-Israeli lobby groups were pushing the White House into a corner with regards to its sanctions policy.

Mr Rouhani was short on details about how he intended to resolve the nuclear issue. He said suspending uranium enrichment was not on the agenda, but easing Western concerns over Iran's nuclear programme was, leaving open the possibility of more rigorous IAEA inspections.

He did not answer a question about who would have the final say over such issues. The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, can choose to marginalise Mr Rouhani, as he did with former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

For now, the president can enjoy the platform and decide what questions he is asked. Surprisingly, no journalists from hard-line newspapers got their turn.

Western powers suspect Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, but Tehran insists its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful.

Iran has repeatedly rejected demands by the so-called P5+1 - the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany - to halt uranium enrichment.

US behaviour 'contradictory'

Addressing domestic and international journalists in Tehran on Tuesday, Mr Rouhani stated that Iran's uranium enrichment programme was peaceful and legal and would continue. But he also said he was determined to resolve the long-running dispute.

"We are ready - seriously and without wasting time - to engage in serious and substantive talks with the other sides. I am certain the concerns of the two sides would be removed through talks in a short period of time.

"However, demands outside any legal framework or illogical and outdated demands will not be useful. We should deal with the issue through a realistic approach."

But he stressed that Iran's rights must be preserved, adding: "The basis of our agenda should be talks, not threats."

Mr Rouhani said the US still did not have a thorough and proper understanding of what was happening in Iran, and that it had not responded in an "appropriate and practical" manner after June's presidential election.

Hassan Rouhani

  • Born in 1948
  • Islamic activist prior to Iran's 1979 Revolution
  • Influential figure in Iran-Iraq War
  • MP (1980-2000)
  • National security adviser to the president (1989-97, 2000-05)
  • Chief nuclear negotiator (2003-05)
  • Regarded as a centrist politician but favoured by reformists

"[Washington's] behaviour and words are contradictory," he said, adding that there was a "war-mongering group" there opposed to talks which was taking orders from a foreign country - presumably a reference to Israel.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov welcomed Mr Rouhani's call for negotiations.

"We absolutely agree with what he said. Resolving this, like any other issue, must be not on the basis of ultimatums, but based on a respectful attitude to a partner," he told reporters in Rome.

Earlier, Mr Lavrov's deputy said a new round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 must not be delayed and should take place by mid-September.

On Sunday, Mr Rouhani presented to Iran's parliament, the Majlis, a new cabinet dominated by technocrats who had previously served under a moderate former President, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Mr Rouhani also vowed at Tuesday's news conference that his government would be accountable and act transparently.

He said he would keep his promise to "report on the progress made and the achievements, as well as the shortcomings and failings".

"Without the people's support, the government will have no chance of meeting its long-term goals," he warned.

Mr Rouhani has inherited a range of problems from his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, including high inflation, diminishing revenues and foreign reserves, possible food shortages, as well as sanctions.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    The Middle east should be nuclear weapons free,however turning a blind eye to Israels nuclear weapons and its illegal occupation will always have another country in the region striving towards a weapons capability,also we must remember Israel is the only country to have passed on the technology to a rogue state, as revealed in the truth commission, Israel helped apartheid South Africa with WMD!

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    These are encouraging signs from Iran, and the people of Iran will benefit hugely from better relations with the rest of the World. It is just a pity that the religous junk of all types, has gotten in the way. Perhaps commonsense might now start to prevail.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.


    I agree with the first paragraph you said, however;

    "In the meantime thousands of Tehran regime's centrifuges keep enriching uranium to weapon grade."

    Evidence please, last I heard they were only managing low-grade uranium refining ant that was from american military intelligence, who if anything probably overestimated Irans ability, they do look for worse case scenarios

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Cheat me once, shame on you. Cheat me twice, shame on me!
    We have no reason to believe anytthing iran tells us. they are just trying to gain time and make that bomb.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Americans know fullwell that Iran will never refuse to stop its nuclear program, and rightly so, given that is the only guarantee of a national security these days. What the americans want is a way out of the bottleneck they put themselves into with all the pointess sanctions.

  • Comment number 40.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    White Man Rules Applicable

    NO slagging off USA Israel UK Australia English speaking colonies regarding running world hypocrisy as only White Guys can criticise

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    Ignoring the highly predicable, historically inaccurate drivel about America & Israel does anyone actually think the US & Iran talking is a bad thing?

    Personally I would MUCH rather have no nation in the mid-east nuclear armed. Every nation that gets a bomb increases the chances that one gets used.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Fingers crossed indeed... that we don't end up with another false-flag event...

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Despite years of effort, I fail to see what this matters to the UK and its citizens. the Middle East can be Americas pet project - I'd prefer our troops to be redeployed at our borders to count people in and out

    After all, you can't tell me the war on terror extends to Iran when you can't tell me how many you've let in here

    Just know that my son will not be going out there to die in a desert.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    This will soon turn into a anti-Israel HYS when the call goes out to the Islamic internet soldiers.

    What I will say is that Iran has been held up by the left & Shia as this nation that does not invade or do harm to others.

    I'll point you towards the plethora of captured Iranian terror agents in recent years from Thailand to India, from Bulgaria to Nigeria.

    They also have their army in Syria.

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    13: Please god Iran get a huge big bomb soon! It's the only thing that's going to keep the USA in check!

    I sometimes yearn for the good old days to...

    I was a schoolboy when Kennedy threatening Khrushchev with WW3 if those ships carrying Russian missiles were unloaded at Cuba. It was a bit scary but you soon became fatalistic because there was nothing you could do about it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    I'm more concerned about Team America:World police pointing it's PNAC finger at the rest of the world whilst developing a massive army intent on control and subterfuge.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Iran has been 'within 12 months of acquiring a nuclear device' since 1992.
    If you believed the statements coming out of Tel Aviv, which were dutifully repeated by the US government and various Middle East 'experts'.
    Remember the rules:
    1. The only nuclear armed state allowed in the M.E. is Israel.
    2. It's status as the regional super power must be maintained.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Iran need to lose the God Squad and it's leader. Spirituality and Politics NEVER mix well. Especially if one of them thinks that 'his mate God' gave him the right to be there, over and above Public Opinion. Religion is enriched when people choose it for the right reasons, not by having it forced on them for the wrong reasons...

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    It's now believed Iran has the capability to make nuclear weapons but hasn't done it yet.

    Which could be big trouble, because if there's one thing the US Administration won’t tolerate, it’s a middle eastern country that could have weapons of mass destruction, that doesn’t

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    It is ironic that the problem with Iran started with Western meddling. The US/UK got the military to stage a coup against a democratically elected Govt. The people eventually overthrew them and put in the present Govt.
    Stop meddling and the world might be a more peaceful place.
    Egypt seems to be the current country the US is meddling in. Democracy can be messy but it is democracy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    "But a solution could be reached "solely through talks, not threats", he warned."

    Does that apply to Israel too?. Thought not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    The US and Israel will defend their security and other interests.There's nothing anyone including all of Europe can do about it. There is no international law that some bureaucrats or lawyers can write in Geneva or anywhere else that will thwart them. People who don't like it can rant and rave all they like. Iran is toying with fate. Each day increases the peril it's in. Time for it is running out


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