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Iranian president vows to resolve nuclear issue

Iran's new President Hassan Rouhani has stated his determination to resolve the nuclear dispute. Tehran's nuclear program is a source of contention because the West fears Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons.

Iranian leader Rouhani, who assumed office on Saturday, said on Tuesday that Iran wants "serious" negotiations with the Western nations to discuss Tehran's nuclear program.

"We are the people of interaction and talks, with seriousness and without wasting time, if the other sides are ready," Rouhani said on Tuesday.

Talks, not threats

During his first press conference since taking office, Rouhani told the West that a solution could be reached "solely through talks, not threats."

Addressing American leaders, Rouhani said that if the US showed goodwill toward Iran, creating an atmosphere of mutual respect, then talks could proceed and help allay the concerns of both sides.

"What matters to us is the practical policy and strategy of the United States. If the United States shows goodwill and intentions ... and without any secret agenda, if they approach this way, then the way will be open," Rouhani said.

Dealing with the West

The West has long feared that Iran is attempting to develop atomic weapons, but Iranian leaders insist that the nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.

A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Ashton congratulated President Rouhani on his recent swearing-in and urged him to seek a swift resolution to the conflict.

Ashton also said that she and the group of nations negotiating with Iran, which include the five permanent UN Security Council members as well as Germany, are "ready to continue talks to find a resolution as quickly as possible."

Thus far, four rounds of talks since last year have made little progress.

tm/slk (AFP, AP, Reuters)