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World/National News

October 3, 2013

Rouhani: Iran to discuss nuke details

(Continued)

Foreign ministers of Iran and the six-nation group — the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — met in New York last week in a first meeting since Rouhani was elected president in June. The next round of talks will be held Oct. 15 and 16 in Geneva.

Rouhani has reached out to the West, hoping that his policy of moderation and easing tensions with the outside world will lead to a nuclear deal.

More than 230 lawmakers, out of a total of 290, signed a statement Tuesday to endorse Rouhani’s policy of détente and interaction, signaling that he enjoys support from both moderates and conservatives within the ruling establishment.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, has supported a strategy of “heroic flexibility” in foreign policy, opening the way for Rouhani’s outreach.

Rouhani reiterated Iran’s pledge that it’s not seeking nuclear weapons, and that it will keep its nuclear facilities open to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog group.

“This is our principle: To keep doors of our nuclear facilities open to IAEA inspection,” he said. “We have nothing to hide. Our record is clean and our hands are open.”

Iran is living under U.N. sanctions as well as tough U.S.-led oil and banking sanctions that have slashed oil exports by half and shut Tehran out of the international financial system.

Rouhani said he was not surprised to see Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing anger at Iran’s “charm offensive.”

Netanyahu on Tuesday called Rouhani “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” and accused the leader of being “a loyal servant of the regime” who has done nothing to stop Iran’s nuclear program since he took office in June.

“Such remarks show that we are moving in the right direction,” Rouhani said. “When Israel sees that its sword doesn’t work and that wisdom has prevailed in the world and that the Iranian people’s message of peace is heard, they definitely get angry.”

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