Iran will not give up "one iota" of its nuclear rights, Iranian President Hassan Rohani
said in a speech to clerics, Mehr news agency reported on Tuesday.
Rohani's comments come ahead of a meeting in New York
later in the month between his foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton
on restarting negotiations over the Islamic republic's nuclear program.
"Our government will not give up one iota of its absolute rights on the nuclear issue," Rohani said, repeating a mantra frequently used by his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
He also said that following the meeting between Zarif and Ashton, nuclear negotiations "will continue in another place with the 5+1 group," which is made up of the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, but gave no further details.
Himself a former nuclear negotiator, Rohani last week handed responsibility for future talks to the foreign ministry under Zarif, a US-educated moderate.
On Friday, after a phone call with Ashton, the P5+1 lead negotiator, Zarif said that Tehran wanted to "remove any ambiguity" about its nuclear work.
Iranian nuclear plant in Bushehr (Photo: Reuters)
Rohani has also appointed a new Iranian envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Reza Najafi, and former foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi as head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization.
Salehi indicated last week that Iran could grant the IAEA greater inspection rights.
Rohani said soon after his election as president in June that he wanted to hold "serious" talks "without wasting time" on Iran's nuclear file, while maintaining Iran's "undeniable rights" to its nuclear program.
Meanwhile, the London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper reported that US President Barack Obama
relayed an appeasing message to Iranian President Rohani recently in a bid to turn over a new leaf in the relations between the two countries.
According to the report, in his message to Rohani through Oman ruler Qaboos bin Said al-Said, Obama said the US was willing to ease the economic sanctions on Iran and advance negotiations on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.
Western countries believe Tehran's nuclear program is aimed at developing nuclear weapons, an allegation Iran has repeatedly denied.
Ahmadinejad's refusal to make any concessions on the nuclear issue saw the Islamic republic slapped with rounds of international sanctions, which in particular targeted its oil exports and banking transactions.
Oil revenues have halved due to the sanctions, causing the value of the rial to plunge and inflation to soar to above 40%.
But Rohani said that such measures would not make Iran abandon its program.
"The West must understand that it will not obtain any result by threats and pressure," he said in his speech to the clerics.
Talks between the 5+1 and Iran in Almaty in April ended in an impasse over Tehran's insistence that its nuclear "rights" be recognized.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop