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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Iran’s President-Elect Promises ‘Path of Moderation’

Iranian President-elect Hasan Rowhani waves to media at the start of a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Monday, June 17, 2013. (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)

Iranian President-elect Hasan Rowhani waves to media at the start of a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Monday, June 17, 2013. (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)

In his first news conference, Iran’s president-elect promised to be more open about his country’s nuclear program and pledged that he would follow a “path of moderation and justice, not extremism.”

Hasan Rowhani, the surprise winner of Iran’s presidential elections, also used his first press conference to emphasize the congratulatory messages he’s received from Western leaders, a move widely seen an effort to ease tensions.

Iran’s economy has been suffering because of international sanctions aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear enrichment program, which the West suspects is being used to build a nuclear weapon.

At yesterday’s press conference Rowhani said he does not intend to halt enrichment, which Iran claims is for peaceful energy production, but he also said he wanted to “enhance mutual trust between Iran and other countries,” and said he was open to “step by step” measures with the international community on Iran’s nuclear program.

Speaking on the Charlie Rose program on Monday, President Barack Obama said that U.S. economic sanctions would stay in place until Iran abandons its pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

Rowhani’s nickname is “the diplomatic sheik.” He’s a long-time insider in Iran’s Islamic government, but because of his pragmatic, moderate views, his election is being celebrated by the Iranian opposition.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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