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JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS \
'Rohani wants to renew direct talks with world powers'
Hassan Rohani 370.
(photo credit:REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi RH/CJF/AA)
Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani wants to renew stalled nuclear talks with the West, Iranian sources close to Rohani told London-based Arab daily Al Hayat on Monday.Rohani plans to hold direct dialogue with each of the six world powers (the five members of the Security Council and Germany) separately, in order to clarify Iran's stance on the issue, the report said.Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that the US and its European allies plan to press Rohani for the resumption of nuclear negotiations by August.According to the Journal, the Obama administration and Brussels intend to determine whether Rohani's surprise win will have any effect on shifting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's position on the nuclear issue and relations with the West. US President Barack Obama's chief of staff said on Sunday Rohani's election was a "potentially hopeful sign," and that if he lived up to his obligation "to come clean on this illicit nuclear program, he will find a partner in us."Speaking on CBS's Face the Nation, Denis McDonough said: "If he (Rohani) is interested in, as he has said in his campaign, mending Iran's relations with the rest of the world, there is an opportunity to do that." The United States urged Tehran on Saturday to "heed the will of the Iranian people" after Iranians elected moderate cleric Hassan Rohani to be their country's next president."We respect the vote of the Iranian people and congratulate them for their participation in the political process, and their courage in making their voices heard," the White House said in a statement.Iran's president runs the economy and wields important influence in day-to-day decision-making, although Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the final say on major issues including national security and Iran's nuclear program.Washington and its Western allies accuse Tehran of pursuing nuclear weapons and have imposed sanctions on Iran that have damaged its economy and triggered a rise in inflation and unemployment. Tehran says its nuclear program is peaceful and aimed at generating power.In election results announced on Saturday, Rohani scored a surprising landslide victory over conservative hardliners. His resounding mandate could provide some latitude for a diplomatic thaw with the West and more social freedoms at home after eight years of belligerence and repression under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."It is our hope that the Iranian government will heed the will of the Iranian people and make responsible choices that create a better future for all Iranians," the White House said.Secretary of State John Kerry said that Rohani "pledged repeatedly during his campaign to restore and expand freedoms for all Iranians.""In the months ahead, he has the opportunity to keep his promises to the Iranian people," Kerry added in a statement.The White House said the United States remained ready to engage the Iranian government directly to reach a diplomatic solution to address concerns from the international community about its nuclear program.The election is likely to be a topic of conversation among the Group of Eight industrialized nations leaders at a summit next week. President Barack Obama departs on Sunday for the meeting in Northern Ireland.Syria - along with Iran's support of President Bashar Assad in the civil war there - is expected to dominate the meeting.
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