Iran President Rowhani`s comments very positive: John Kerry
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Last Updated: Friday, September 20, 2013, 09:28
  
Washington: Iranian President Hassan Rowhani's recent comments, including the one that his country will not develop nuclear weapons, have been "very positive" but everything needs to be put to "the test", US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday.

"I think Rowhani's comments have been very positive, but everything needs to be put to the test," Kerry told reporters at the State Department headquarters, when asked about the new statements coming from Tehran.

"We'll see where we go. At the right moment, I think the White House and the State Department will make clear where we're headed," Kerry said in response to a question.

In an interview to the NBC news channel aired on Friday, Rowhani said "under no circumstances would we seek any weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, nor will we ever."

In the interview, the Iranian President talked about peace in the region and war.

"What we wish for in this region is rule by the will of the people. We believe in the ballot box. We do not seek war with any country. We seek peace and friendship among the nations of the region," he said.

This was seen as a positive development by the Obama Administration.

"I would say that we obviously notice a significant change in language and tone from the new Iranian government when compared to its predecessor. It's rather dramatic," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

"But it's important when we're talking about this incredibly serious matter of a nuclear weapons programme that we not just take Iran's words for it, that we back it up and if it's real," he said.

Responding to questions, Carney said no meeting has been planned between the US President Barack Obama and Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York.

"We've been open, as a general proposition, to bilateral discussions with the Iranians since the president took office," he said.

"It's conditioned upon Iran being serious about wanting to resolve this obstacle, which is its insistence on developing a nuclear weapons programme," Carney said.

"The way to rejoin the international community and relieve the pressure on the Iranian economy that has been imposed on it by this sanctions regime is to come to terms with the international community, forsake and give up in a verifiable way Iran's nuclear weapons programme and then move forward," he said.

"We believe there's a window of opportunity that remains open to do that. It will not remain open forever. We have been certainly interested in some of what we have heard from the new Iranian government about their interest in improving relations with the international community," Carney said.

PTI


First Published: Friday, September 20, 2013, 09:28


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