TEHRAN: President Hassan Rowhani said on Tuesday Iran was ready for “serious” talks on its nuclear program without delay and that United States (US) calls for tougher sanctions showed a lack of understanding.
Addressing his first news conference since taking office on Saturday, Rowhani said he would not surrender Iran’s rights but that he wanted to allay Western concerns.
“As the president of the Islamic republic, I am announcing that there is the political will to solve this issue and also take into consideration the concerns of the other sides,” he said.
“We are the people of interaction and talks, with seriousness and without wasting time, if the other sides are ready.”
Rowhani headed Iran’s nuclear negotiating team under reformist president Mohammad Khatami in the early 2000s, and Western leaders have expressed hope his election could herald a more constructive approach in the protracted talks.
The hardline policies of his firebrand predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, prompted crippling European Union and US sanctions against Iran’s oil and banking sectors that he has vowed to seek to relax.
Rowhani said there could be no surrender of the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy that Iran claims under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
“Iran’s peaceful nuclear program is a national issue . . . we will not give up the rights of the Iranian people,” he said.
“We will preserve our rights based on the international regulations.”