Rouhani says Iran plans to restart nuclear talks in N.Y.

Iranian presidential candidate Hassan Rohani

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said his government plans to restart nuclear talks with world powers in New York, where he will attend the United Nations General Assembly this month.

The “serious talks” should help lead to a “win-win” final outcome in the dispute over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program, Rouhani said in an interview on Iranian state-run television yesterday. The negotiations will involve the International Atomic Energy Agency and the so-called P5+1 group, made up of the five permanent UN Security Council members in addition to Germany, he said.

“The nuclear issue will be resolved soon if the other side is serious,” he said. “The final result should be a win-win. We are ready for it.”

Rouhani, who succeeded President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last month, has pledged to ease international sanctions imposed by Western powers, which accuse his country of developing nuclear weapons. Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes. His comments on the talks came a day after the UN’s atomic watchdog said Iran was not cooperating with IAEA inspectors.

“Given the nature and extent of credible information available to the agency about possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program, it remains essential and urgent for Iran to engage with us on the substance of our concerns,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said.

Gas Target

Rouhani also said Iran plans to increase output of crude and natural gas. The Islamic republic is the world’s sixth-biggest oil producer and holds the largest proven gas reserves, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy published in June. U.S., European and UN sanctions have hobbled Iran’s energy industry, restricting oil exports and discouraging foreign investment.

“Our gas production is not enough,” and Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh plans to boost gas output by 30 million cubic meters a day by the end of the fiscal year ending March 20, Rohani said. The ministry is prioritizing development of the South Pars gas field’s phases 12, 15, 16, 17 and 18, he said.

Iran projects an increase in oil production this year to 4 million barrels a day and is seeking to boost exports, Rohani said. The country pumped 2.57 million barrels a day in August, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Rouhani plans a six-day visit to New York starting Sept. 22. The European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton plans to meet Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New York, the EU said.

By Bloomberg


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