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Iran's Rouhani Wants 'Constructive Engagement'



Iran's newly elected President Hassan Rouhani has pledged to join in constructive dialogue with world powers.

Continuing his engagement with U.S. media, Mr. Rouhani says in an opinion piece in The Washington Post that "gone is the age of blood feuds." He says world leaders are expected to lead by "turning threats into opportunities."

Mr. Rouhani's column was posted late Thursday, just days before he makes his first appearance as president on the world stage at next week's U.N. General Assembly in New York.
NBC News broadcast an interview with the Iranian president earlier this week, and the Iranian head of state has more media exposure coming up in the next few days.

United Nations and Western sanctions have been imposed on Iran for its controversial nuclear program. Some world powers believe Iran has been attempting to develop nuclear weapons, but Tehran insists its uranium enrichment program is peaceful.

In the Post article, Mr. Rouhani says generating nuclear power is "as much about diversifying" Iran's energy resources as it is about the country's "demand for dignity and respect."



President Rouhani also addressed the controversial nuclear issue during his NBC interview. He said Iran has never sought nuclear weapons and that it will under no circumstances "seek any weapons of mass destruction."

A White House spokesman says the U.S. is willing to engage in talks with Iran on its nuclear program if the talks are "on a basis of mutual respect."

Spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Friday that it is "clear" why Iran is showing a willingness to approach the international community.

Earnest said world powers are "united" in a belief that Tehran needs to fulfill its obligations to the international community by clarifying details of its nuclear program.

White House officials say there are no current plans for President Barack Obama to meet Mr. Rouhani during his visit to the U.S. They have, however, acknowledged Mr. Obama recently exchanged letters with the Iranian president - a rare step for the two countries, which do not have diplomatic relations.

Israel warned world powers not to be taken in by what it calls Tehran's "sugar colored words."

An Israeli government spokesman said Iran continues to "move aggressively" toward having a nuclear weapons, and that "this must stop."

Mr. Rouhani's election in June appears to have spurred new diplomatic outreach from Iran's ruling establishment.

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