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Iran's Rowhani Promises New Era

Iran's Rowhani Promises New Era
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Iran's newly elected president is giving a glimpse into what he says may lie ahead for relations between Tehran and the rest of the world. Cleric Hassan Rowhani spoke at a news conference Monday, during which he promised to follow a path of moderation.

President-elect Hassan Rowhani took to the podium to make clear his victory represents a new era, hinting at a new start with world powers, including the United States.

"The issue of relations between Iran and America is a difficult and complex one. It is not a simple problem. There exists an old wound [between the two countries] and it is necessary for it to close in order for it to heal," said Rowhani.

The U.S. and its allies have accused Tehran of using its nuclear program to develop nuclear weapons - which Iran denies - and have imposed several rounds of sanctions that have battered Iran's economy.

While Rowhani indicated he favors improving ties with the international community, major policy decisions in Iran rest with the supreme leader.

Still, Rowhani, a former nuclear negotiator, suggests there is room from compromise.

"Our nuclear program is completely transparent but we are willing to show more transparency and to make clear to the entire world that the Islamic Republic's measures are within international guidelines," he said.

The most recent round of talks between Iran and world powers, before the election, did not produce results. But during a stop in Baghdad, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton expressed hope.

"I will continue in my work to urge Iran to work closely with me and with the E3 +3 to build confidence in the nature of their nuclear program," said Ashton.

Rowhani's win in the first round of Iran's presidential election touched off celebrations in the streets of Iran, giving some in the international community hope that the harsh rhetoric of current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the hardline stance of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will give way to progress.

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