Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in an interview with NBC’s Ann Curry in Tehran, September 18, 2013
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says he has full authority to negotiate a deal with the West over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program.
The Iranian president made the remark in an interview with American TV channel NBC in Tehran on Wednesday.
Rouhani also reiterated that Tehran does not seek nuclear weapons.
The comments come ahead of Rouhani’s trip to New York to attend the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly in his first UN visit since he was elected to office in June.
The United States, Israel and some of their allies falsely claim that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Tehran strongly rejects the claim against its civilian atomic work, maintaining that as a committed signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Regarding a recent letter sent to him by his American counterpart Barack Obama, the Iranian chief executive said that the tone of the letter was positive and constructive.
After he was sworn into office as Iran’s president, said Rouhani, he received a letter from Obama, in which the US president congratulated him on his election and also touched on certain issues.
Rouhani said that he responded to the letter and elaborated on Iran’s stances on the issues put forward by the American president as well as other subjects.
“This could be tiny steps toward a very important future. I believe that the leaders in all countries should think about their national interests and they should not be swayed by extremist pressure groups. I hope we will witness such an atmosphere in the future,” the Iranian president added.
Earlier, US President Barack Obama said Washington is willing to test chances of dialog with Iran.
“There are indications that Rouhani, the new president, is somebody who is looking to open dialog with the West and with the United States, in a way that we haven't seen in the past. And so we should test it,” Obama said in an interview aired Tuesday by Spanish-language network Telemundo.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh said on Tuesday, “No meeting with American officials is on the agenda during Dr. Rouhani’s trip.”
“However,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said, “should the process within the framework of [the negotiations with] the P5+1 play out in such a way that a meeting is planned, that will be done (a meeting will be held) within the noted framework.”