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Nukes are Iran’s ‘inalienable rights,’ its new president says

(JTA) — Iran’s President-elect Hassan Rohani said he would strive for transparency in his country’s nuclear program but would not stop enriching uranium.

Rohani, in his first news conference following his upset victory over the weekend, also said he wants to reduce tension with the United States but would not talk directly with U.S. leaders until economic sanctions were lifted, The New York Times reported.

He said his government would continue to protect the country’s “inalienable rights,” including Iran’s nuclear rights.

“First, we are ready to increase transparency and clarify our measures within the international framework,” Rohani said during the news conference. “Of course our activities are already transparent, but still we increase it. Second, we will increase the trust between Iran and the world.”

In 1994, when he served as a nuclear negotiator, Rohani agreed to suspend nuclear enrichment as a trust-building measure. He called 2013 ” a different situation.”

Rohani will take office on Aug. 3.

Iran says its nuclear program is for domestic use only; the western world believes the program is leading to a nuclear weapon.

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