President Hassan Rouhani Says Iran Will 'Never Develop Nuclear Weapons'

Tells NBC He Has Full Authority to Make Deal with the West

No to Nuclear: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has declared that his country would never develop nuclear weapons. But his predecessors have said that before.
Getty Images
No to Nuclear: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has declared that his country would never develop nuclear weapons. But his predecessors have said that before.

By Reuters

Published September 18, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

WASHINGTON - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a television interview on Wednesday that his government would never develop nuclear weapons and that he has full authority to negotiate a nuclear deal with the West, NBC News reported.

Speaking to the U.S. network at his presidential compound in Tehran, Iran’s new president also said the tone of a letter he had received from President Barack Obama, part of a recent exchange of messages between the two leaders, was “positive and constructive.”

“It could be subtle and tiny steps for a very important future,” Rouhani said, in another sign that he may be seeking a thaw between Iran and the West after years locked in a standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Rouhani’s comments came just six days before he will be in New York to address the U.N. General Assembly, a speech that will be closely watched for fresh diplomatic overtures.

Echoing what Iranian leaders have said before, Rouhani was quoted by NBC as declaring that his government would “never develop nuclear weapons” under any circumstances.

The United States and its allies suspect Iran is seeking bomb-making capability despite Tehran’s insistence that its nuclear program has only peaceful aims.

Rouhani, who took office in August, also said he had full authority in nuclear talks with the West.

Questions remain about how much bargaining room Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, will give his negotiators, whether in secret talks with Washington or in multilateral discussions with major powers.

But comments this week by Khamenei, a staunch promoter of Iran’s nuclear program, about the need for “flexibility” suggests a new willingness at the highest level to explore a compromise solution to Tehran’s dispute with the West.

Since Rouhani was elected president in June, the centrist cleric has called for “constructive interaction” with the world, a dramatic shift in tone from the fiery anti-Western rhetoric of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Obama said in a television interview on Tuesday that he is prepared to test the willingness of Rouhani to discuss the nuclear issue. But U.S. officials remain wary, insisting they want to see actions, not just words.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • Meet Alvin Wong. He's the happiest man in America — and an observant Jew. The key to happiness? "Humility."
  • "My first bra was a training bra, a sports bra that gave the illusion of a flat chest."
  • "If the people of Rwanda can heal their broken hearts and accept the Other as human, so can we."
  • Aribert Heim, the "Butcher of Mauthausen," died a free man. How did he escape justice?
  • This guy skipped out on seder at his mom's and won a $1 million in a poker tournament. Worth it?
  • Sigal Samuel's family amulet isn't just rumored to have magical powers. It's also a symbol of how Jewish and Indian rituals became intertwined over the centuries. http://jd.fo/a3BvD Only three days left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.