(TEHRAN, Iran) — In his first comments to the press since being elected Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani promised on Monday that his government would institute a doctrine of moderation while promising to improve the economy and relations with the rest of the world.
While Rouhani’s election last weekend could signal some shift in policy, the president-elect also hinted that the West shouldn’t expect too much when it come to Iran’s rogue nuclear program.
Rouhani told a press conference that there would be more transparency about the program but that Tehran has no intention of ending its uranium enrichment process, which the U.S. and its allies maintain is a key step to developing atomic weapons.
Speaking to that accusation, Rouhani stressed that Washington “must not interfere in Iran’s internal affairs, must recognize Iran’s right to enrich uranium and must abandon the policy of pressures,” a reference to sanctions now in effect.
Regarding the conflict in Syria, Rouhani’s remarks suggested no change of current policy was in the wind as he called on the international community not to intervene in Syria’s affairs even as Tehran has shipped weapons to President Bashar al-Assad’s military.
Rouhani repeated his country’s support for al-Assad’s attempts to remain in power, saying that the next Syrian presidential election in 2014 must go off as scheduled.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Michael Pearson and Steve Almasy, CNN
David Williams, CNN