WASHINGTON— A top White House official is urging Iran’s newly-elected president to set his country on a different nuclear path.
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough says Iranians should be congratulated for strong voter turn-out in Friday’s presidential balloting, in which moderate cleric Hassan Rowhani emerged as victor. Speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation television program, McDonough called the outcome a “potentially hopeful sign.”
“If he is interested in, as he has said in his campaign events, mending Iran’s relations with the rest of the world, there is an opportunity to do that. If he lives up to his obligations under the U.N. Security Council resolutions to come clean on this illicit nuclear program, he will find a partner in us,” he said.
McDonough said such a change would put Iran on a path to the brighter future its people desire.
Less-optimistic is Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who appeared on ABC’s This Week program.
“At the end of the day, the Supreme Leader calls the shots in Iran, and it is still the same Supreme Leader that has put Iran on this very dangerous [nuclear] track,” he said.
President-elect Rowhani received slightly more than 50 percent of some 37-million ballots counted. In a televised speech, he urged the Iranian people to help him preserve national pride and national interests. He will succeed outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.