Rouhani: Iran 'Never' to Seek Nuclear Weapon

Wednesday, 18 Sep 2013 07:45 PM

By Greg Richter

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Iran has never pursued or sought a nuclear bomb, "and we are not going to do so," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told NBC News in an interview broadcast Wednesday.

"We solely are looking for peaceful nuclear technology," Rouhani said.

NBC's Ann Curry conducted the first U.S. interview with Rouhani since he assumed office Aug. 3.

Rouhani said he has the power to negotiate with the United States over the disputed program.

"In its nuclear program, this government enters with full power and has complete authority," he said.

Iran is an ally of Syria, whom the United States has been involved with in a standoff over Syria's use of chemical weapons on civilians. Some U.S. officials have feared Iran might retaliate against U.S. interests on Syria's behalf if the United States launches missile strikes against Syria.

"We are not the government of Syria," Rouhani said. "We are one of the countries of this region which is asking for peace and stability and the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction in the entire region."

Rouhani said he did not consider the United States weak for backing off of a possible attack after Russia offered a plan to have Syria's chemical weapons removed by international authorities.

"We consider war a weakness," he said. "Any government or administration that decides to wage a war, we consider a weakness. And any government that decides on peace, we look on it with respect to peace."

He called a letter from President Barack Obama congratulating him on winning a June election "positive and constructive." Rouhani beat out five hard-liners to replace former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who had a negative relationship with the United States.

Watch the interview below:

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