Iran’s Rouhani: Time running out to resolve nuclear disagreements

President of Islamic Republic urges world powers to consider ‘win-win’ deal, says dispute can be resolved peacefully

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaking at the parliament in Tehran, Iran, on August 15, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaking at the parliament in Tehran, Iran, on August 15, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)

The international community is running out of time to resolve disagreements with Tehran over the advancement of its nuclear program, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani warned on Tuesday.

Speaking during a live interview on Iranian state television, Rouhani stressed that the Islamic Republic would not be open for dialogue with the West indefinitely, but stated that he is “ready for a win-win game,” and indicated that the nuclear dispute could be resolved peacefully if the parties involved took action as soon as possible.

“The world must know completely that this period of time for resolving the nuclear issue will not be unlimited,” the Iranian president said. “We have a specified period of time.”

The statements by Rouhani carried by state TV came as he prepared to go to New York later this month to address the UN General Assembly.

Rouhani, considered by many to be a relative moderate compared to his uncompromising predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, urged world powers to seize the opportunity that emerged with his election and work together with Iran to finding a fair solution to the nuclear issue.

“The world must also use this period of time and this opportunity that our people created in this election; we will also use this opportunity,” he said.

“God willing, I am hopeful that we can, step by step, solve this problem.”

Since assuming office last month, Rouhani has stressed a fairly diplomatic approach to foreign affairs, though he has also insisted that Iran would not make concessions over its nuclear program, specifically with regard to uranium enrichment.

Earlier Tuesday, he told clerics that his government wouldn’t cede “its absolute right” on what he called “the nuclear issue,” AFP reported, quoting the semi-state run Mehr news agency in Iran.

Also Tuesday, Rouhani reportedly said he could reach out to world leaders about resuming nuclear talks during the UN General Assembly later this month in New York.

The report, by the official IRNA news agency, quoted the president as saying that he could seek dialogue to try to get the negotiations back on track. The report gave no further details.

Talks between Iran and world powers were last held in April amid deadlock over Western efforts to rein in Tehran’s controversial nuclear program.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is scheduled to meet the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton later this month, as the two sides look to restart talks about Iran’s nuclear program.

For years Israel, the US and other Western countries have charged that Tehran’s nuclear program has military purposes, and the international community has imposed harsh sanctions against Iran. The Islamic republic claims it only seeks reactors for energy and medical applications.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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