President-elect: world should take advantage of ‘change’ in Iran

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The international community should take advantage of “change” in Iran following the June 14 vote, president-elect Hassan Rowhani said on Monday.

“I hope that all countries use this opportunity,” he said, urging “moderation over extremism.”

Rowhani described Iran’s nuclear program as “completely transparent,” but said he was “ready to show greater transparency” to reduce Western sanctions, and to assure the world that his country’s actions “are completely within international frameworks,” Agence France Presse reported.

While Rowhani said Iran was not ready to halt uranium enrichment, he expressed hope that a new agreement could be reached with the “P5+1” group of the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia, plus Germany.

Rowhani was Iran’s top nuclear negotiator between 2003 and 2005, during the presidency of reformist Mohammad Khatami, when Tehran agreed to suspend uranium enrichment to allay Western suspicions that its nuclear program may hide military objectives.

Meanwhile, Rowhani said his incoming government will seek to improve ties with regional rival Saudi Arabia.

“The priority of my government is to strengthen relations with neighbors... the countries of the Persian Gulf and Arab ones that are of strategic importance and our brothers,” said Rowhani, as quoted by AFP.

“Saudi Arabia is a brother and neighbor... with which we have historic, cultural and geographical relations,” he added, reported AFP.

“I hope that the next government will have very good relations with our neighbors, including Saudi Arabia.”
Saudi King Abdullah on Sunday congratulated Rowhani on his victory. The king sent a telegraph wishing the Iranian president good health and happiness, and the people of Iran ‘steady progress and prosperity.’

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