TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's president plans to use this month's U.N. General Assembly in New York to reach out to world leaders about possibly restarting nuclear talks, the official IRNA news agency reported Tuesday.
IRNA quoted President Hasan Rouhani as saying that he could seek dialogue to try to get the negotiations back on track and decide on the next venue. Talks between Iran and world powers were last held in April amid deadlock over Western efforts to rein in Tehran's nuclear program.
The West suspects Iran's nuclear program has a military dimension. Iran denies the charge, saying the program is only for peaceful purposes like power generation and cancer treatments.
"Maybe in coming weeks, the first talks on the nuclear case will take place in New York," Rouhani told a group of clerics, according to IRNA.
Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif plan to attend the U.N. gathering in what will be the Iranian president's first trip to the West since his inauguration in August.
Rouhani has stressed a more moderate approach in foreign affairs than his hard-line predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But Rouhani has also insisted that Iran would not make concessions on the pillars of its nuclear program such as uranium enrichment.
Iran "will not withdraw an iota from the definite rights of people," Rouhani was quoted by IRNA as saying.
He also urged the West to change its policies, including withdrawing economic sanctions imposed on Iran over the controversial nuclear program. He said "the job" of reaching a nuclear accord "will not be done without respect."
"There will be no achievement through imposing sanctions and pressure on the Iranian nation," Rouhani said.
The United Nations has scheduled Rouhani's speech for Sept. 24, hours after President Barack Obama is expected to address the annual General Assembly.