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 85.

    I assumed any Gov "nuclear talks"were always"serious"!?

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    Good, lets hope negotiations work!

    Do I think Iran are getting the bomb? No. think the likes of Israel are just doing the U.S's and Saudi Arabia's dirty work for them!

    However, should they be getting the bomb then they should be stopped

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    I think Iran needs to get its priorities right , either it wants to be a nuclear power and then they can sit on hugely expensive weapons with smug satisfaction or they can spend that money on its own people , lift sanctions which are crippling the country , create jobs , improve health and improve all the Iranian peoples lives . You would think it was a no-brainer as they say but ... Ayatollah

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.


    Islamist Iran doesn't have any "advanced reactors".

    Just look at the Russia-built reactor at Busher.

    As a matter of fact next generation atomic reactors will most likely not use even low-enriched uranium-235 at all but abundant and cheap THORIUM, which would address a problem of proliferation since it can't be used in weapons.

    Iran's explanations are simply laughable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    Google: 'Help me I'm a tugnut.' To find out more about tugnuts and tugnut related activities and products. Or try ' Why do we always get a seriously worded but ultimately content free statement from William Hague as though The world cares what our government thinks.' That's a good google search. Expect a statement any minute.

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    Iran should make nuclear weapons. Without nuclear weapons, the colonialist slave traders will eventually invade it and kill millions of Iranian kids, babies and women. This is what they have been doing for the past 400 years. Only nuclear weapons can stop their military industrial complex. These nations consider Iranians as an inferior race with inferior religion. Only nukes can protect Iranians..

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    Check out this new book on Kindle called The Bahrain Protocol, and this quote:

    The Ayatollah then spoke from his chair on center stage, behind a table with other officials, “Continue to ask for negotiations; invite the U.S. and European nations to the talks; sow dissention and split them from each other.” “The bomb is almost ready; negotiations will give us time to complete and test it.”

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    God help all the non white nations should they appear to be getting on an even footing with Western nations.

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    I worked in Iran during 1978/ early 79. The people are just like you and me. The US needs a Demon to justify its behaviour. Now the big news. My job was a helicopter engineer on the Prakla Seismos uranium survey. Iran is sitting on all they will ever need and much more. That's what it's really all about. Buddy up and help them do nuclear safely and everyone benefits. Think East Germany.

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    61. YandosXIII
    U235 is makes up less than 1% of all Uranium. Most of the Uranium ore is rock, not Uranium. Getting it to 20% pure is most of the work. Going to 99% only means a 1 in 5 purification. They've already managed a 1 in 10,000 purification.

    A Hiroshima style 'gun' Uranium bomb is 70 year old tech. Predates the microchip. Not hard to manage at all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    Because what the world really, really needs is more plutonium.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    It's not up to the US to prove Iran isn't developing nuclear weapons, that burden is Iran's.Iran acts suspiciously like it's trying to hide something.Inspectors don't have free unfettered access to suspected sites.Is Iran playing the same game Saddam Hussein may have been playing trying to frighten its enemies or is it really working to developing them?If it's pretending it didn't learn from Iraq.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.


    Iran probably is trying to get up to 20%+, I definatly believe it's after Nuclear Weapons. I question how close it is. And no Ahmadinejad is/was not a reliable source, propaganda, this is a man whio claimed, if it got down to it, Iran would defeat USA in a war. He wasa liar or delusional.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    Both Iran and the world community need to enter these talk with honest intentions and no preconditions. We cannot allow this to deteriorate into aggression and warfare.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    I sincerely hope that the new Iranian PM wants to deal oil in dollars.

    Because if he has his own plans and his own currency ideas, he's going to be sleeping with Hussein and Gaddafi

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    Why is it that any story like this brings out one track mind US haters.
    Extremists on both sides have contributed to tensions that could lead nowhere good. Thankfully Obama and Rouhani appear to have recognised that (fingers crossed).
    One less nuclear nation is a good thing. Start with that proposition because thinking that nuclear weapons could vanish with the flick of a pen is fantasy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.


    Life in Iran has been miserable since Reza Phalavi was replaced with fanatical ayatollahs and their minions.

    Iran's economy has been in shambles even before any sanctions. The best example: rationing of gasoline there, because ayatollahs have spent billions on building nukes rather than rafineries.

    And that's in the country with 3rd largest oil deposits in the world!

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    As far as I can tell the already have a capability to make a bomb, it is not that hard to make a basic one.
    I cant see that current strategy of sanctions has worked or will work in Iran or North Korea and attacking the would most likely produce even more negative results.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    At this juncture, the US/EU needs to show a degree of positivity to provide ammunition to Mr Rouhani to argue his case with the higher echelons for a faster solution. Otherwise, he will fail to convince the system and the whole momentum will be lost, potentially causing the lives of 10 million. A responsibility that many people in the US or EU cannot and will not tolerate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    With the Shia/Sunni divide growing and Iran essentially at war with the GCC (Gulf countries) through proxies, using Syria and Lebanon as their playgrounds - I can't see Iran stepping away from the bomb.

    In fact, if Syria falls, Hezbollah will follow and then Iran has no means to project its terrorism. It will be confined to its borders and will feel more threatened.


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