Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani has told Western nations that the only way to interact with Iran is through dialogue and called on them to abandon the “language of sanctions” in dealing with the country’s uranium enrichment programme.
Rouhani, a moderate cleric who won a landslide victory in the June 14 presidential elections, spoke after being sworn in as president in an open session of parliament on Sunday.
“If you seek a suitable answer, speak to Iran through the language of respect, not through the language of sanctions,” the president said in a speech broadcast live by Iranian state television.
The people want to live better, to have dignity and to enjoy a stable life.
After his inaugural address, the US said it was ready to cooperate with Rouhani’s government if it were serious about engagement.
“The inauguration of President Rouhani presents an opportunity for Iran to act quickly to resolve the international community’s deep concerns over Iran’s nuclear programme,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.
The statement added that if the new government would engage in serious discussions to find a peaceful solution to this issue, “it will find a willing partner in the US”.
In Tehran, Rouhani said his goal was to improve the livelihood of ordinary Iranians whom he acknowledged were under “a lot of economic pressure” because of tough US and EU sanctions over Iran’s refusal to stop uranium enrichment.
“The people want to live better, to have dignity and to enjoy a stable life. They want to regain their deserved position among nations,” said Rouhani, who has promised above all else to stick to the path of moderation.
Rouhani, who formally took office on Saturday, presented parliament with his male-dominated cabinet line-up after his address the next day, choosing mostly experienced technocrats.
Officially, he had two weeks from Sunday to name his cabinet, the political breadth of which is seen as a testament to his priorities.
The conservative-dominated parliament now has 10 days to review the nominations, but media reports say MPs are keen to start voting within a week or less.
Rouhani has appointed Mohammad Nahavandian, a US-educated Green Card residency holder, as his chief of staff. He is expected to play a leading role in coordinating Rouhani’s economic policies.
Other key nominees were veteran retired diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif as foreign minister and ex-oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, for the same portfolio again.