Ready to engage with Iran: White House

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 10:05

Washington: Hoping that the new Iranian government would address the concerns of the international community about its nuclear weapons program, the White House has said it is ready to engage with Tehran.

"We hope that this new Iranian government will engage substantively in order to reach a diplomatic solution that will fully address the international community`s concerns about its nuclear program," the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said yesterday at his news conference.

"We remain ready to engage with the Rowhani government on the basis of mutual respect to achieve a peaceful resolution to the nuclear issue," Carney said in response to a question.

"But we have also been very clear that Iran has flagrantly failed to live up to its obligations under international resolutions and needs to, in a verifiable way, forsake its nuclear weapons program," he said.

"But we will continue and engage or make ourselves available to engage, and the President made clear we remain hopeful that there is a possibility of making progress on this issue," he said.

Carney said there are no plans for US President Barack Obama to meet the new Iranian president on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York next week.

"There are no plans for him to meet," he said.

On Sunday, Obama said in an interview that he exchanged letters with the new Iranian President, Hassan Rowhani.

"I have. He has reached out to me. We haven`t spoken directly," Obama told the ABC news in an interview aired Sunday acknowledging that they have exchanged letters.

"I think what the Iranians understand is that the nuclear issue is a far larger issue for us than the chemical weapons issue, that the threat against Israel that a nuclear Iran poses, is much closer to our core interests, that a nuclear arms race in the region is something that would be profoundly destabilising," Obama said.

"So my suspicion is that the Iranians recognise they shouldn`t draw a lesson that we haven`t struck to think we won`t strike Iran. On the other hand, what is what they should draw from this lesson is that there is the potential of resolving these issues diplomatically," he said in response to a question.

Obama said the Iran recognise, in part, because of the extraordinary sanctions that they placed on them, that the world community is united when it comes to wanting to prevent a nuclear arms race in the region.

"Negotiations with the Iranians is always difficult. I think this new President is not going to suddenly make it easy. But you know, my view is that if you have both a credible threat of force, combined with a rigorous diplomatic effort, that, in fact, you can strike a deal," said the US President.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 10:05

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