Rouhani: Iran has 'religious duty' to abide by terms of nuclear deal

In preview of NPR interview on sidelines on UN General Assembly, Iranian president indicates future cooperation with US depending on status of nuclear accord.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (photo credit: REUTERS)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Iran has a "religious duty" to adhere to the terms of the nuclear deal reached with world powers, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in an interview with National Public Radio (NPR) News.
"Well, my country, my nation, if it accepts an agreement, if it signs an agreement, if it gives its commitment to live up to the terms of an agreement, it will certainly do so," Rouhani was quoted as saying in a preview of the full interview set to air Monday on NPR's Morning Edition.
The Iranian president responded to a question regarding skepticism that Iran would permit international nuclear inspectors access to military bases, by claiming his country "always lived up to" signed commitments.
The UN nuclear watchdog is due to provide an assessment of "possible military dimensions" of Iran's nuclear program by the end of the year. Critics of the international powers' deal with Iran have argued that the accord on inspections limits the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) ability to investigate and gives Iran too much influence in the collection of samples.
Rouhani, who gave the interview in New York on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly, also indicated that future cooperation between long-time rivals Tehran and Washington could be possible depending on the six world power's upkeep of the nuclear accord.
In recent interviews with Western media, the Iranian president has taken a slightly more optimistic tone on diplomacy than the country's hardline Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who stated earlier in September that Tehran would not negotiate with Washington on any issue after the nuclear deal.
"Assuming, God-willing, that everything moves forward in a positive manner, there are opportunities in the future for us to hold a dialogue in the very least to hold dialogue about other topics," Rouhani told NPR.
However, he added that skeptics in Iran do not believe the US will maintain their commitment after the Obama administration leaves offices.
The White House has said there was no meeting planned between Rouhani and US President Barack Obama while they are at UN headquarters in the coming days. Rouhani has suggested it would be premature to discuss encounters between the two men.
Reuters contributed to this report.