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Rouhani: Iran seeks dialogue, not war

(JTA) — Striking a moderate tone toward the West, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said at a military parade that his country seeks dialogue instead of war.

Rouhani, speaking Friday in Tehran during a parade celebrating Iran’s National Army Day, said talks between Iran and world powers on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program proved his country’s peaceful intentions.

“During the talks, we announced to the world and we say so again … we are not after war, we are after logic, we are after talks,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

He added that Iran “will not invade any country,” although it would “resist any invasion.” Reuters quoted him as saying: “We don’t attack any country and don’t want war, but we will firmly confront any aggression against Iran.”

According to Reuters, some soldiers marching in the parade carried banners reading “death to Israel” and “death to the United States.”

Iran and six world powers — the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany — reached an interim deal in November 2013 that put limits on Tehran’s enrichment levels in exchange for an easing of some sanctions.

Israel has objected to the easing of sanctions, calling the arrangement struck “a bad deal.”

On Thursday, the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, said Iran has neutralized half of its higher-enriched uranium stockpile, as per a deal agreed to earlier this year.

Subsequently, the United States has authorized the release of $450 million in frozen Iranian funds, the BBC reported.

Rouhani replaced hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year, who was well known for acrimonious criticism of the West and Israel. According to some accounts, Ahmadinejad said Israel should be wiped off the map.

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