News / Middle East

US Open to Iran Nuclear Talks

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President Barack Obama says the United States is open to holding new talks with Iran about its controversial nuclear program.

But in an interview broadcast late Monday, Obama said Iran must recognize that international sanctions will remain until the country dispels concerns that it is developing a nuclear weapon.  Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful.

Obama also said the election of moderate cleric Hassan Rowhani to be Iran's next president shows the Iranian people "want to move in a different direction" and engage the international community in a more positive way.

Earlier Monday, Obama said he and Russian President Vladimir Putin are cautiously optimistic that Rowhani will push for progress in nuclear talks.

Rowhani told a news conference Monday that Iran wants to prove its nuclear work fully meets international standards.

He said Iran's nuclear program is totally transparent, and that Tehran is ready to show more transparency.

"We will look at taking two specifics to allow us to remove and resolve the issue of sanctions [against Iran].  The first is to take the path towards increased transparency [over Iran's nuclear program].  Of course, our nuclear programs are totally transparent in nature.  But we are ready to show more transparency and to show the world that Iran's nuclear work complies fully with the international framework," he said.  "Secondly, we will promote the growth of mutual trust between Iran and other nations.  Wherever this mutual trust is under threat, we will make efforts to strengthen this mutual trust.  In my view, the way to end the sanctions regime [against Iran] is through mutual trust and greater transparency within the framework of international rules and regulations.''

The U.S. and its Western allies suspect Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons, and have helped to implement several rounds of sanctions against Iran that have battered the country's economy.

Rowhani said he will "follow the path of moderation and justice, not extremism.''  He also promised to revive what he called constructive interaction with the rest of the world, and to help fix Iran's faltering economy.

"There is an opportunity now, thanks to the active participation and support of the [Iranian] people: their participation [in the election] and their votes has created an opportunity. I hope that all countries take advantage of this opportunity, because this opportunity is beneficial from the point of view of mutual national interests," he added. "If one looks at the world today, we see tensions and stresses in the economic and political arenas across the world as well as in the [Middle East] region. Therefore, relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and its new government will not only be beneficial for the Iranian nation, but also for the countries in the region and the wider world.''

When asked about relations with the United States, Rowhani said the issue is complicated, calling it "an old wound that needs to be healed."

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Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
June 18, 2013 11:31 AM
Can we really trust this man? Things we must not lose sight of in the election of Hassan Rouhani are, foremost that he is a crony and election of the Islamist supreme leadership of Iran. By this he’s not going to do anything counter to the leadership goals of the supreme leader. Next, Iran’s nuclear program has gone far enough, the rest can now go underground to achieve the regime’s agenda. Following to this is that Rouhani must have been chosen to win the “elections” by the approximation of the leaders to show some compromise to the West and douse the heat so far hurting the country’s economy without coming out to make the concession.

Iran has no intention of stopping the nuclear program, nor does it intend to improve relations with Israel, even though Rouhani may not be all over the place denying the holocaust or peddling the desire to wipe Israel out of world map. The bottom-line remains: regional hegemonic dominance, fostering of terrorism and desire to eliminate foes. Iran will continue to support Hezbollah, Hamas and sponsor terrorists all over the world. The supreme leader simply wants some muted hardliner who can douse the West and help reopen Iran’s sale of oil to the open market. The Ayatolah wants a change of tactics – someone with a smiling face while hardened beneath to make the West relax its sanctions on Iran so that it can continue to carry out the nuclear program now gone underground. This is absolutely a new face of terrorism.
In Response

by: FreedomComesFirst from: Alabama
June 19, 2013 3:51 AM
Iranians deserve better than to be subjected to a never-ending stream of sanctions because people like you believe in conspiracy theories about an Iranian plan to take over the world. "Iran will continue to support Hezbollah, Hamas and sponsor terrorists all over the world." Most of the Islamic world supports Hamas. Iran recently stopped funding Hamas due to the Syrian civil war. If this is your criteria for impoverishing 70 million Iranians, it's a weak one.

Hezbollah is extremist militant organization that Iran supports, but it is not a threat to the West, and should not be the basis of this much hostility between the U.S. and Iran. Many countries over the decades have supported hardline militants when it suited them. A zero-tolerance policy to that type of thing would mean the West could not have relations or trade with people in half the countries of the world. Both the West and Iran are harmed by the extremist course of action you advocate toward Iran. Normalization of ties on the other hand would benefit both sides by creating more trade links and contacts between the cultures. Shutting Iranians off from the world is immoral.

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