“Iran’s willingness to talk, will be put to test”, says Obama

U.S. president tells Spanish network that Iran’s new president seems to want to pursue dialogue over country’s controversial nuclear program – Iranian supreme leader: Iran’s objection to nuclear weapons stems from our faith and our principles.

“Iran’s objection to nuclear weapons has nothing to do with the U.S. or with any other country,” Khamenei said. “It stems from its faith and its principles.” Previous ayatollah, Khomeini, explicitly outlawed both the use and production of nuclear arms. This seems contradictary with Iran’s current stance.

U.S. President Obama and Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu shake hands while they hold a joint news conference at the Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem

According to various reports, Iran’s proposal includes retaining what the leadership refers to as a civilian nuclear program, with the inclusion of restrictions and increased supervision. Within the framework of the proposal, Iran is reportedly willing to limit the number of centrifuges that enrich uranium, especially at the Natanz facility.

Last weekend, Obama revealed he and Rouhani had exchanged letters about the U.S.-Iran standoff. Both leaders will be at the U.N. General Assembly in New York next week, although White House officials said there are no current plans for them to meet.

“There is an opportunity here for diplomacy,” Obama told Telemundo. “And I hope the Iranians take advantage of it.”

Obama ran for president in 2008 in part by vowing to open a dialogue with Iran.

But there has been no breakthrough and sanctions by Washington and the United Nations to weaken Iran’s economy have gradually been increased to try to pressure Tehran to give up a nuclear program that it denies is aimed at building a weapon.

“There are indications that Rouhani, the new president, is somebody who is looking to open dialogue with the West and with the United States, in a way that we haven’t seen in the past. And so we should test it,” Obama said.

Since the surprise election in June of Rouhani, a centrist cleric, officials from both countries have made increasing hints that they are open to direct talks to seek an end to the decade-long nuclear dispute.

On Tuesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Iran’s nuclear program required “courageous leadership.”

Speaking to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Khamenei said that “diplomacy is an arena of smiles” adding that “outstanding players” must make compromises but “never forgets the final objective.”

“Iran’s objection to nuclear weapons has nothing to do with the U.S. or with any other country,” Khamenei said. “It stems from its faith and its principles.”

According to various reports, Iran’s proposal includes retaining what the leadership refers to as a civilian nuclear program, with the inclusion of restrictions and increased supervision. Within the framework of the proposal, Iran is reportedly willing to limit the number of centrifuges that enrich uranium, especially at the Natanz facility.

Source: Israel Hayom

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