Iran’s new President Hasan Rouhani, waves after swearing in at the parliament, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013. Iran’s new president on Sunday called on the West to abandon the “language of sanctions” in dealing with his country over its contentious nuclear program, hoping to ease the economic pressures now grinding its people. Rouhani spoke after being sworn in as president in an open session of parliament Sunday, capping a weekend that saw him endorsed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s new president says his country is ready for “serious” and swift talks with world powers over the nation’s controversial nuclear program.
President Hasan Rouhani says he’s “ready to engage in serious and substantial talks without wasting time” and voiced hope that interactions with the West should be based on “talks, not threats.”
Rouhani spoke to reporters Tuesday at his first news conference since taking office. He was inaugurated on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, called on Rouhani to schedule “meaningful talks” on the nuclear issue as soon as possible.
The West fears Iran’s nuclear program aims at developing atomic weapons, while Tehran insists it serves only peaceful purposes.
Four rounds of talks since last year have failed to make significant headway.