The Iranian government is reportedly seeking a sweeping agreement that would end crippling U.S.-led economic sanctions. The New York Times reports Iranian leaders decided on the strategy after President Obama’s recent letter to the new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, promised a relief from sanctions in return for cooperation on Iran’s nuclear program. In an interview with this week, Rouhani said Iran has no nuclear ambitions and called for renewed cooperation with the West. In Washington, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney gave a cautious welcome to Rouhani’s comments.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: “It has long been the position of President Obama since he was a candidate and this was a matter of debate during the Democratic primaries in 2008, as well as during the general election, that he would, as president, be willing to have bilateral negotiations with the Iranians, provided that the Iranians were serious about addressing the international community’s insistence that they give up their nuclear weapons programs. That is the position that we hold today. Now, there have been a lot of very interesting things, said out of Tehran and the new government, and encouraging things but actions are more important than words.”
Carney also said it is possible President Obama will meet with Rouhani when the two attend the U.N. General Assembly in New York next week.