Iran, which hasn’t had diplomatic relations with the U.S. in decades, could be open to dialogue if the United States is willing to recognize Iran’s rights to a nuclear program.
New Iranian President-elect Hassan Rouhani, whose victory was announced this weekend, has no plans to abandon the uranium-enrichment program, a major factor of international sanctions imposed on Iran. In his first news conference on Monday, Rouhani maintains that before any talks are to come about, the U.S. must promise to not interfere with domestic affairs and do away with its “bullying policies.”
“Wisdom tells us both countries, both nations need to think more about the future and try to sit down and find solutions to past issues and rectify things,” he said. “The rights of the Iranian nation, including nuclear rights, need to be recognized.” “We are prepared to see tensions relieved,” he added.
Rouhani promises to make the nuclear program more transparent. “We can make it clear to the whole world that the measures and activities of the Islamic republic are totally within international regulations and mechanisms.” Rouhani claims his administration will focus on “acting in line with salvaging the country’s economy, reviving morality and constructive interaction with the world.”
Rouhani maintains that Iran has done nothing to deserve international sanctions. He claims before any progress is made in”the tranquility and stability of the economy,” Iranians will be afforded basic commodities.
Upon his victory this weekend, Rouhani addressed reforms without threatening Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei or Iran’s institutions. The former national security council chiefs promised to free political prisoners and imprisoned journalists.
Israeli Prime Minister has warned against alleviating the sanctions placed on Iran in light of Rouhani’s promises. “Regarding the results of the elections in Iran, let us not delude ourselves. The international community must not become caught up in wishes and be tempted to relax the pressure on Iran to stop its nuclear program,” said Netanyahu.
The White House has respected the election results in spite of “a lack of transparency, censorship of the media, Internet, and text messages, and an intimidating security environment that limited freedom of expression and assembly.” The White House also maintains that the U.S. “remains ready to engage the Iranian government directly in order to reach a diplomatic solution that will fully address the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.”
Rouhani succeeds incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is on his way out and term-limited. He has a “reputation for shunning extreme positions and bridging differences.” Even as president, Rouhani is not the most powerful official in Iran. Khamenei reigns as the supreme leader, though he is in support of Rouhani’s position, asking supporters of other candidates to “set aside their differences and unify.”
Rouhani has served in Iran’s security council since 1981 and holds credentials from Iran’s instituions, including three law degrees. He was also a senior cleric and commander of Iranian air defenses. He has avoided being labeled a pushover by taking exception to Khamenei’s rigid international stances and accusing state-run media of “censorship and publishing lies.”