7 Aug 2013

New president determined to resolve Iranian nuclear impasse

6:27 am on 7 August 2013

President Hasan Rouhani said on Tuesday he is determined to resolve the long-running impasse over Iran's nuclear programme.

At the first news conference since his inauguration on Sunday, Mr Rouhani said he was confident both sides' concerns could be resolved in a short time.

But a solution could be reached solely through "talks, not threats", he added.

Western powers suspect Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, but Tehran insists its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful.

The BBC reports Iran has repeatedly rejected demands by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany to halt uranium enrichment.

Mr Rouhani was Iran's chief nuclear negotiator from 2003 to 2005. On Tuesday, he stated that Iran's uranium enrichment programme was peaceful and legal and would continue. But he also said he was determined to resolve the long-running dispute.

"We are ready - seriously and without wasting time - to engage in serious and substantive talks with the other sides. I am certain the concerns of the two sides would be removed through talks in a short period of time,'' Mr Rouhani said.

"However, demands outside any legal framework or illogical and outdated demands will not be useful.

We should deal with the issue through a realistic approach."

But the BBC reports he stressed that Iran's rights must be preserved, adding: "The basis of our agenda should be talks, not threats."