News / Middle East

Iran's Rouhani: We've Never Pursued Nuclear Weapons

FILE - Hassan Rouhani, in this image still president-elect, speaks with the media during a news conference in Tehran June 17, 2013.
FILE - Hassan Rouhani, in this image still president-elect, speaks with the media during a news conference in Tehran June 17, 2013.
VOA News
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has vowed his country will never pursue a nuclear bomb, in the latest sign the newly elected leader is open to improving relations with the United States.
 
In an interview from Tehran with NBC News, President Rouhani said Iran has never sought nuclear weapons and that it would under no circumstances "seek any weapons of mass destruction."
 
Rouhani also said his people should be free to think, speak and seek information on the Internet, subject to "the protection of our national identity."  He said a "commission for citizens' rights" will be established "in the near future."
 
The Iranian leader spoke just days before he is to make his first appearance as president on the world stage when he attends the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
 
Iran has for years insisted its nuclear program is peaceful.  The U.S. and some of its allies disagree, and have helped implement several rounds of sanctions that have battered Iran's economy.
 
Rouhani's election in June appears to have spurred new diplomatic outreach from Iran's ruling establishment.
 
In recent weeks, the Iranian leadership has sent Rosh Hashanah greetings to Jews worldwide via Twitter, released political prisoners, exchanged letters with U.S. President Barack Obama and transferred responsibility for nuclear negotiations from the conservatives in the military to the Foreign Ministry.
 
Some in Washington have been skeptical, saying true power lies with Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But Rouhani said his government has "full power," "complete authority," and "sufficient political latitude" to solve the nuclear issue.
 
Barry Pavel a former defense policy adviser to Obama, tells VOA that Rouhani's recent statements reflect a "real opportunity" to engage Iran on its nuclear program.
 
"There is one senior decision maker, and that's the supreme leader," he said. :So in that sense, it appears that the proposals and engagement do have his direct sponsorship and support."
 
Pavel, who is the director of the Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, says it is conceivable that Rouhani could come prepared to make further goodwill gestures.
 
"It's possible he'll make a dramatic concession.  That would be the appropriate timing and venue.  But there should also be discussion of this in the more confidential setting of the P5+1 talks," said Pavel referring to the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany.
 
White House officials say there are no current plans for Obama to meet Rouhani during his visit.  They have, however, acknowledged Obama recently exchanged letters with Rouhani - a rare step for the two countries, which do not have diplomatic relations.

You May Like

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid