New Iranian President Hassan Rouhani offered on Tuesday to hold nuclear talks with international powers as early as this month during the annual UN General Assembly in New York, the Iranian news agency ISNA reported.
“The negotiations could already start there and be continued later at another location,” he was quoted as saying.
Like hardline predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who always attended and spoke at the annual meetings, which are held in late September at UN headquarters, the relatively moderate Mr. Rouhani plans to attend this year’s session. The General Assembly is the only opportunity for presidents of Iran, which has no diplomatic relations with the United States, to enter the UN’s host country.
Since taking office last month, Mr. Rouhani has transferred responsibility for Iran’s long-running nuclear talks with the 5+1 group — UN Security Council veto powers Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany — to the Iranian Foreign Ministry.
His newly appointed foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has already agreed to meet on September 22 in New York — on the General Assembly sidelines — with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to discuss a return to the stalled P5+1 talks. Western powers accuse Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons capability, which Tehran denies.
Mr. Rouhani called for a “win-win” solution to the dispute. He did not say if he would personally participate in any New York talks.