New Iranian President Hassan Rowhani said yesterday the only way for the international community to interact with Tehran on its controversial nuclear program was through dialogue 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 that 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 US, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany, over Iran’s nuclear activities, which the world powers suspect are 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 former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Among the key nominees were retired veteran diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif, tapped for the foreign ministry, and former Iranian oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, named to return to the same portfolio.