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.


More on This Story


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 565.

    563 Break Down the Walls

    Mash Down
    Wicked Babylon

    Hypocritical Spying Computer System

    Stand Down Obama
    Biden for President 2013

  • rate this

    Comment number 564.

    With the knowledge of how the oil embargo on Imperial Japan created (or perhaps advanced) pearl harbor, one must ponder at what could happen when the strain becomes too much for Iran.

    On one hand Iran needs nuclear weapons to "protect" itself in the same way every other country with them felt when they built them.
    On the other hand can we really believe they will never be used?

  • rate this

    Comment number 563.

    @560:No-one hates the US or Israel. Many of us, however, value freedom, human rights & the dignity of all humanity. I, for example, don't believe my life is anymore valuable than a Palestinian's. So when we see the unending hypocrisy of the US, her breathtaking greed, her endless war-mongering, we try to point it out. Ironically, some of the biggest victims of the US are its own citizens.

  • rate this

    Comment number 562.

    Israel is doing all it can to forstall any serious talks between the Obama White House and Iran. The power of AIPAC was made manifest by the near unanimous vote by the stupid US Congress for new sanctions against Iran even before any talks with Iran can take place a US Congress that is a running dog pack for Israel's interests. The sanctions are meant to drive the Iranians to refuse negociations.

  • Comment number 561.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 560.

    559 MH is always wrong. Even when she's right she's wrong. A very angry and bitter person. Hates the US, hates American civilization, hates Israel, and is extremely frustrated that the world isn't going her way. The bad guys are losing in no small measure because of the USA. They're going to lose again if they don't veer off from their evil ways.Her hopes for Iran attacking the US will be dashed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 559.

    512"Apparently he (George W Bush) daren't travel abroad for fear of being arrested and carted before the Hague"
    549 "As always your facts are dead wrong.President Bush spends much time in Africa where he's highly regarded having done more to deal AIDS than all others combined"
    512 is well right 549 well wrong
    Geezer bunked a ride with missus for one day woman thing AF1
    arrest presidents GWB BO

  • Comment number 558.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 557.

    553.Bird Man Hunting
    How did Joshua break down the walls was it music God or God's Music
    The last pottery in Jerico was from about 1350 BC, Joshua crossed the Jordan in about 1125 BC. After Jerico they supposedly destroyed the city of Ai, that settlement was destroyed almost 1000 years previously. The story of Joshua doesn't fit the archaeology. It's all propaganda to fit an ideology

  • rate this

    Comment number 556.

    Iran has some of the largest gas & oil reserves in the world. Europe is in desperate need of cheap energy to create jobs & wean it off Russia energy dependence. The Americans have their cheap oil & gas & are seeing a manufacturing revival. If European politicians acted in Europe's best interests, they'd lift sanctions immediately & get Euro O&G companies into Iran developing those energy fields.

  • rate this

    Comment number 555.

    Almost all the Middle East countries and even Iran agree to a Nuclear Free Zone Agreement over there. Guess which 2 countries are against it....and even blew the preliminary meeting at the end of last year to discuss this possibility.....US and Israel. Why there is no word in the main stream media about this ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 554.

    A lot of talk about Iran & nuclear weapons. Let me remind you all that no-one has produced a shred of evidence that Iran is producing a nuclear weapon. The fact that there is so much discussion on the issue tells us how successful the Israeli & US propaganda machine have been in spreading this lie.

    Where is the Iranian bomb? We've been told for years now that it's just around the corner.

  • rate this

    Comment number 553.

    In Jah Bible old Covenants get replaced for new, but God is a jealous God and hates the money cravers the partial i.e. the racial superficial.
    How did Joshua break down the walls was it music God or God's Music.
    "In the 70’s and 80’s it was predominantly black people that would go to these sort of gatherings still. But now, the message is open to a wider audience"

  • rate this

    Comment number 552.

    Mankind has NEVER played nice! WHY? He is just one of earths many creatures that ALL fight for survival. The only difference between man and the other creatures is... he thinks he is more important and even invented god/s that he 'hopes' will take him to 'NEVER-NEVER land'! Meanwhile he WILL destroy EARTH!

  • rate this

    Comment number 551.

    @548 Ed60

    Look as a person with some Jewish in my background I sympathise and the whole capital letters thing, yep your right I deserved your response but, as a man of science and reason, If most of us were wiped out today and only the Harry Potter or LOR books were left, we would all be "Blessed be the Potter" or "In the Name of the Gandalf and of the Frodo" and we would fight over that?

  • rate this

    Comment number 550.

    Iran is a country that is much misconstrued and Iranians are friendly and warm. US should change its stance on Iran vis-a-vis Israel if peace is to be restored in the Middle East. US should also check in the aggressive posture of its ally Israel towards Palestine. This may be a positive step towards reigning in world peace and dismember the Islamists.

  • rate this

    Comment number 549.

    512"Apparently he (George W Bush) daren't travel abroad for fear of being arrested and carted before the Hague"

    As always your facts are dead wrong.President Bush spends much time in Africa where he's highly regarded having done far more to deal with AIDS than all others combined.Women's rights too.More highly regarded than Clinton or Obama.

  • rate this

    Comment number 548.


    re capital letters, I always give religions a capital letter, Christianity comes from Christ the same way Edwardian comes from Edward so I assume all religions follow suit. Iran isn't IRAN unless the letters stand for something, like EU or US, which it isn't

    It isn't the Jewish lobby who has influence, it's Christian fundamentalists who need Jews in place for Armageddon

  • rate this

    Comment number 547.

    @539 ...The greatest threat to the world are the warmongers with the little that they have not those who have to restrain the warmongers with the much that they have.

  • rate this

    Comment number 546.

    @544 Ed80

    Sorry but Jewish had a Capital J' and Disabled a lower case D' so I thought you were giving less prominence??? Doubt you were as your a nice person and clearly educated...

    However and I think we will both agree, if it were not for the Jewish lobby in Washington and the petro-dollar keeping the US on life support, IRAN would not even be an issue for the rest of us, right?


Page 1 of 29


More Middle East stories



Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.