Iran Will "Never" Build Nuclear Weapons, Says Iranian President

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 18 2013 8:45 PM

Iran Will "Never" Build Nuclear Weapons, Says Iranian President

170701460
Iranian supporters of President-elect Hassan Rowhani gather at the mausoleum of the founder of Iran's Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in Tehran on June 16, 2013.

Photo by ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

On Wednesday, in his first interview with American media since his election, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told NBC News “we have never pursued or sought a nuclear bomb, and we are not going to do so.”

Rouhani went on to say, according to NBC News, that "Iran will never develop nuclear weapons and that he has the clout to make a deal with the West on the disputed atomic program."

Advertisement

How far Rouhani’s change in tone, compared to his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will go in Washington remains to be seen after years of diplomatic brinksmanship between the two countries over Iran’s intentions for its uranium enrichment program.

But, ahead of Rouhani’s first appearance before the United Nations scheduled for next week, there have been sings of a thaw in U.S.-Iran relations. The White House said on Wednesday that President Obama had exchanged letters with his Iranian counterpart. Rouhani described Obama’s letter congratulating him on his election as “positive and constructive.”

On Wednesday, Iranian authorities also made an unexpected move, freeing 11 of the country’s “most prominent political prisoners,” the New York Times reports.

Here's more from the Times on the implications of Rouhani's latest moves:

Analysts said the prisoner release was a significant step in Mr. Rouhani’s efforts to repair Iran’s relationship with the West, mired in a dispute over Iran’s nuclear program and criticism of its human rights policies. His visit to New York to attend the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly is part of a diplomatic offensive he began after his election in June.

The U.S. and Iran cut off formal diplomatic ties in 1980 after the American embassy in Tehran was stormed and American diplomats taken hostage.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
  Life
Outward
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 20 2014 7:00 AM Gallery: The Red Planet and the Comet
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.