Iran's President Rouhani Says He Is Willing To Make a Deal on Nukes
In an interview with NBC News, Iran's new president Hassan Rouhani dropped the latest hint that the moderate leader is a bit more willing than his predecessor to work on a Western-supported deal concerning the country's disputed nuclear program.
Update: Here's the video of the interview from NBC News:
Original Post: In an interview with NBC News, Iran's new president Hassan Rouhani dropped the latest hint that the moderate leader is a bit more willing than his predecessor to work on a Western-supported deal concerning the country's disputed nuclear program. First, Rouhani said, his country would "never" develop a nuclear weapon "under any circumstances." And second, he liked the tone of a "positive and constructive" letter from President Obama, congratulating him on his election and opening up the possibility of allowing Iran to prove its nuclear program is peaceful.
Here's more on that offer, from White House spokesperson Jay Carney:
“In his letter the president indicated that the U.S. is ready to resolve the nuclear issue in a way that allows Iran to demonstrate that its nuclear program is for exclusively peaceful purposes...The letter also conveyed the need to act with a sense of urgency to address this issue because, as we have long said, the window of opportunity for resolving this diplomatically is open, but it will not remain open indefinitely."
Speaking to Ann Curry, Rouhani discussed his communication with Obama:
It could be subtle and tiny steps for a very important future. I believe the leaders in all countries could think in their national interest and they should not be under the influence of pressure groups. I hope to witness such an atmosphere in the future.
Rouhani added that he has the authority to negotiate such a deal as president. NBC released a preview clip of the interview, which airs in full at 6:30 p.m. tonight:
Meanwhile, Iran's message to the west since Rouhani's election hasn't been entirely indicative that the country is ready to hug it out. The Syrian ally sent some mixed signals of their theoretical response to a western military attack on the Assad regime, while a report that the country had finally re-opened Twitter and Facebook access to its citizens turned out to be just a glitch.
Rouhani will make his debut at the U.N. next week during the international organization's General Assembly. And it looks like his administration is willing to make some gestures of good will. The country released several political prisoners on Wednesday, including prominent women's rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh.