Iran will not sacrifice its rights - Rouhani
13 September 2013, 23:01
Bishkek - Iran wants to end the stand-off with global
powers over its nuclear programme swiftly, but will not sacrifice its rights or
interests for the sake of a solution, President Hassan Rouhani said on Friday.
Meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines
of a regional security summit, Rouhani said it was a good time for new steps to
resolve the dispute over a programme Western states believe is aimed at
developing nuclear weapons.
"Regarding the Iranian nuclear issue, we want the
swiftest solution to it within international norms," Rouhani said at the
meeting with Putin in Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek.
"Russia in the past has taken important steps in
this sphere and now is the best opportunity for new steps from your side,"
said Rouhani, whose country has observer status in the Shanghai Co-operation
Organisation, dominated by Russia and China.
Iran has been in on-off talks for years with six global
powers seeking to ensure it does not develop nuclear weapons capability.
A solution has been elusive and the most recent talks, in
April, ended without a breakthrough.
Rouhani, who was elected in June, has said Iran will be
more transparent and less confrontational in talks with the six powers - the US,
Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
But he made clear earlier on Friday he is only ready to
go so far, indicating Iran would not give up its right to enrich uranium.
"I declare that only if there is political will, if
there is mutual respect and mutual interest, and only if the rights of Iran's
people are ensured, can we guarantee the peaceful character of Iran's nuclear
programme," he said.
Western diplomats say Iran has continued to expand its
uranium enrichment capacity in recent months, potentially shortening the time
it would need to produce sufficient highly-refined material for a bomb.
Rouhani said a date could be set for the next round of
talks later this month during the UN General Assembly in New York, where
meetings between Iran and some of the powers are expected.