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Iran's President-Elect Promises 'More Transparency' In Nuclear Program


Hassan Rohani speaks at his first press conference since the Iranian vote on June 14.
Iran's President-elect Hassan Rohani says more transparency in the country’s nuclear program would help ease international economic sanctions on Tehran.

Speaking at his first press conference since the June 14 election, he also criticized the sanctions as "brutal" and unjustified.

"Our nuclear programs are fully transparent, but we are still prepared to show greater transparency and make clear to the whole world that the activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran are completely within international regulations and mechanisms," he said.

Rohani, however, ruled out halting the country’s uranium-enrichment program.

The West suspects Iran’s nuclear program is aimed at producing a nuclear weapon, a claim Tehran denies.

Rohani defended his country’s nuclear activities as "legal." He said recognizing Iran’s "nuclear rights" was a precondition to any direct talks between Iran and the United States.

"[Before any direct bilateral talks, the United States] must make it clear that it will not interfere in Iran's internal affairs," Rohani said. "Secondly, it must officially recognize all the rights of the Iranian nation, including its nuclear rights."

When asked about the possibility of a direct engagement with Washington, Rohani said the issue of relations between Iran and the United States is a "complicated and difficult one."

Rohani said there is an "old wound" that needs to be healed and added that his government will not create "more tensions" in the relations between the two countries.


He emphasized the need to improve relations with the world, especially neighboring states, and said a new opportunity has been created for friendly ties between Iran and other countries.

"The new government feels there is a fresh opportunity for interaction at the global level," he said.

Rohani said he hoped all countries would use what he described as the "opportunity created by the Iranian people."

Rohani added that the economy and social issues will be his government’s top priority. The president-elect emphasized the urgent need to tackle widespread unemployment in the country.

READ NEXT: Who Is Iran's Next President?

Rohani, a moderate cleric and former nuclear negotiator, was backed by Iran's reformist movement and won 50.7 percent of the country's vote.

Rohani said his government will consist of a wide range of political groups, including reformists, moderates, and conservatives.

RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari says that, while Rohani promised more openness over Iran's nuclear program, he also repeated some oft-stated stances by the Iranian leadership.

Esfandiari added that the press conference was notable for some of the questions asked.

"One journalist asked whether reformist groups will be allowed to become active, while another indirectly asked whether Rohani would intervene in the case of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Musavi and Mehdi Karrubi, who are under house arrest," Esfandiari said.

At the end of the news conference, someone from the audience shouted " Rohani! Remember Mir Hossein [Musavi] must be [present]!"

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Reuters on June 17 that Rohani's victory showed popular discontent with the Iranian regime, "but unfortunately it doesn't have the power to change Iran's nuclear ambitions."

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