TEHRAN – A final nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers can be achieved in a short period of time, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday.
He made the remarks during a meeting with former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, who is visiting Iran as the head of a group of former global leaders known as the Elders.
Mr. Annan is being accompanied by Martti Ahtisaari, former president of Finland and Nobel Peace laureate, Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town and Nobel Peace laureate, and Ernesto Zedillo, former president of Mexico.
It is the Elders’ first visit to Iran as a group.
Brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007, the Elders are twelve independent global leaders who use their collective influence and experience to promote peace, justice, and human rights worldwide.
According to the group’s website, the purpose of their visit to Iran is “to encourage and advance the new spirit of openness and dialogue between Iran and the international community, and to explore what could be done to enhance cooperation on regional issues.”
Iran not seeking anything beyond its rights
During the meeting on Tuesday, Rouhani commented on the six-month interim nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers in Geneva last November, saying, “Iran is not seeking anything beyond its rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and if the other side has a strong will, we are ready to reach a final deal and resolve the issue completely in a short period of time.”
He also reiterated that Iran is not seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
Iranian news agencies reported on Monday that Iran and the six major powers will most probably hold a meeting on a final nuclear agreement in New York by February 20.
A U.S. official also said on Monday that the sides will meet in New York in February.
"It is our understanding that the first round of comprehensive negotiations will be in New York in mid-February with dates still being confirmed," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian president commented on the developments in the region and said, “Regional crises have their roots in cultural poverty, economic poverty, injustice, the lack of democracy, and the presence of foreign forces and their interference.”
Iran has an important role in the region
Mr. Annan, for his part, said that Iran plays an important role in the region, saying that it should contribute to the efforts to defuse the crisis in Syria.
The former global leaders also held a meeting with Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani on the same day.
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