In another sign that Iran and America’s ice-cold relationship is beginning to melt, Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani says his administration “will never develop nuclear weapons.”
Rouhani told NBC News’ Ann Curry in Tehran on Wednesday that he has the “full authority to make a nuclear deal with the West” and everything is on the negotiating table. Rouhani’s exclusive sit down with Curry was his first international interview in eight years.
There have been several new developments hinting Iran is interested in improving its relationship with the West. Next week, Rouhani will come to New York to speak for the first time at the United Nations. Rouhani’s remarks also come as President Obama confirmed the two have exchanged letters. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also said this week that he is in favor of “flexibility” in talks with the west over the country’s nuclear program.
The Iranian president said the tone of the letters were “positive and constructive” and could be “tiny steps for a very important future.” He said Obama congratulated him for winning his June election.
Curry told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that the interview was “less bombastic and more conciliatory” than with former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It’s clear that Rouhani sees his trip to the U.N. as a “major opportunity for improving relations with the West.”
The communication is a big change from the longstanding silence that has for decades characterized Washington’s relationship with Tehran.
According to The Guardian, Obama and Rouhani could meet face-to-face at the United Nations next week, while William Hague, the UK’s Foreign Secretary, is expected to meet with his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif.
If in fact Obama and Rouhani do meet, it would be the first face-to-face interaction between a U.S. president and Iranian leader since the 1979 revolution in Iran.