Dialogue the only way to interact with Iran: Rowhani

AFP , Sunday 4 Aug 2013

The only path to interact with Iran is through negotiations on equal grounds, Iran's new president says

Iran's new President Hassan Rowhani said Sunday the only way for the international community to interact with Tehran on its controversial nuclear programme was through dialogue and not sanctions.

"The only path to interact with Iran is through negotiations on equal grounds, reciprocal trust-building, mutual respect and reducing hostilities," he said in a speech after being sworn in before parliament.

"If you want a proper answer, do not speak with Iran with the language of sanctions but with the language of respect," he said, adding Iran would "not surrender to sanctions, nor be threatened with war."

He was referring to years of unfruitful negotiations with the so-called P5+1 group of the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany over Iran's nuclear activities, which the world powers suspect is aimed at military objectives despite Iranian denials.

Rowhani, who won a surprise June 14 presidential election, has promised to engage in constructive interaction with the world.

The inaugural speech indicated the path that Rowhani's moderate administration would take.

After the speech, he also presented parliament with his government line-up, mostly filled with technocrats seen as close to his mentor, pragmatic ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Among the key nominees were veteran retired diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif, tapped for the foreign ministry, and ex-oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, named to return to the same portfolio.

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