Iran's President Hassan Rohani insisted his government has the full mandate to reach a deal with the West on his country's nuclear program, rejecting reports that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, may not support a Rohani compromise with the world powers.
"I think that any result this government reaches, it will have the support of other powers (power centers) in Iran," he said. "On the nuclear issue, the government has total discretion."
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One of Khamenei's close advisors, Hamid Raza Taragi, said this week that "we need to get something from the Americans, before we smile at them. Of course, Mr. Rohani must convince some people at home that he is not making any radical steps."
"The atmosphere (in Iran-U.S. ties) is quite different from the past," Rohani told a news conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, a day after the highest- level talks between the United States and Iran in a generation.
"Our goal is the shared interest between the two nations. Our goal is resolving problems, our goal is step-by-step creating trust between the governments and peoples," Rohani said.
The Iranian president, who took office last month, said he hoped nuclear talks with the United States and
other powers "will yield, in a short period of time, tangible results."
Rohani evaded a question regarding Iran's support for Hamas and Hezbollah, and answered that "Syria is at the height of a dangerous war, against which we must unite, and put an end to."
The president also noted that Iran opposes foreign intervention, but also condemns the use of chemical weapons. Though not calling Israel by name, Rohani said that cleaning the Middle East out of weapons of mass destruction "must include a regime which hold a very dangerous arsenal of WMDS, and should sign the treaty against its proliferation."
"Others should not pay for Nazi crimes"
Earlier on Friday, Rohani was asked about his view of the Holocaust yet again, this time at the Asia Society conference in New York.
"We condemn crimes as such, but the argument here is that if the Nazis committed a crime, this does not mean that the price paid for it should be done by other people elsewhere, this should not serve as any justification to push out from their homes a group of people because of what Nazis did," he told CNN.
"(…) although that crime by the Nazis is definitely condemnable, oppressing people in another part is also condemnable, because people should be allowed to return to their homes and to their lands," he added.
Rohani. Will accept Palestinian wishes
Afterwards he was asked how his country would respond should the Palestinians reach an agreement with Israel. "You know of course that the question of peace in the Middle East has been on the table as a subject for many long years and unfortunately, it has never really reached a conclusion," he told the interviewer.
"On the question of Palestinians, whatever the people of Palestine accept, we shall accept as well. The decision makers about Palestine are the people of Palestine, the Palestinians, and if they accept something, we will also support the demands of the people," he claimed.
On Thursday, Rohani spoke in a nuclear disarmament conference in the UN, and called on Israel to sign the nuclear proliferation treaty "immediately," adding that no country should hold such weapons.
In a surprising change of terminology, Rohani used the term "Israel," after years in which Iranian officials were careful to use terms such as "the Zionist entity" or the "Zionist" to refer to the country.
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