Washington, Sep 19 (PTI): Ahead of his first trip to the US as Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani has praised as “positive and constructive” a letter written to him by his American counterpart Barack Obama and said he enjoys “full authority” to negotiate a nuclear deal with the West.
Rouhani, a moderate cleric known as ‘Diplomatic Shiekh’ for his constructive approach, vowed that Iran will never seek nuclear weapons under any circumstances.
The Iranian President said he received the letter in which Obama congratulated him on his election and touched on certain issues. He said he responded to the letter and elaborated on Iran’s stances on the issues put forward by the American president as well as other subjects.
During an interview with American TV channel NBC News ahead of his maiden UN visit since he was elected to office in June, the 64-year-old leader said the tone of Obama’s letter was “positive and constructive”.
“This could be tiny steps toward a very important future.
I believe that the leaders in all countries should think about their national interests and they should not be swayed by extremist pressure groups. I hope we will witness such an atmosphere in the future,” he said.
Rouhani will travel to the US to attend the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly later this month wherein he will address the world leaders on the same day as Obama.
He maintained that the Iranian nuclear programme is for peaceful use of atomic energy and expressed willingness to reach a solution with the West on the controversial issue that has led to a series of tough economic sactions against Tehran.
“Under no circumstances would we seek any weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, nor will we ever,” he said. “In its nuclear programme, this government enters with full power and has complete authority.
“The problem won’t be from our side,” he said. “We have sufficient political latitude to solve this problem.”
The two countries have had no diplomatic relations since the 1979 Islamic revolution that overthrew the Western-backed Shah regime after massive countrywide protests.
Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said there is an opportunity for diplomacy with Iran.
“It is fair to say that the President believes there is an opportunity for diplomacy when it comes to the issues that have presented challenges to the US and our allies with regards to Iran,” he told reporters.
“We hope that the Iranian government takes advantage of this opportunity. We have heard a lot in the world from President Rouhani’s administration, about its desire to improve the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s relations with the international community,” he said.