Nuclear enrichment among Iran’s ‘inalienable rights,’ new president says

Iran’s President-elect Hassan Rohani said he would strive for transparency in his country’s nuclear program but would not stop enriching uranium.

Rohani, in his first news conference following his upset victory over the weekend, also said he wants to reduce tension with the United States but would not talk directly with U.S. leaders until economic sanctions were lifted, The New York Times reported.

He said his government would continue to protect the country’s “inalienable rights,” including Iran’s nuclear rights.

“First, we are ready to increase transparency and clarify our measures within the international framework,” Rohani said during the news conference. “Of course our activities are already transparent, but still we increase it. Second, we will increase the trust between Iran and the world.”

In 1994, when he served as a nuclear negotiator, Rohani agreed to suspend nuclear enrichment as a trust-building measure. He called 2013 ” a different situation.”

Rohani will take office on Aug. 3.

Iran says its nuclear program is for domestic use only; the western world believes the program is leading to a nuclear weapon.

[Iran’s president-elect Rohani:
More of the same or a bridge to the West?]

Russia’s Putin will visit Israel, officials say

Vladimir Putin, the president-elect of Russia, intends to visit Israel this summer.

The date has yet to be formally announced, the Israeli media reported, but will come after Putin’s May 7 inauguration.

Putin reportedly is interested in unveiling a monument in Netanyahu to Jewish Red Army soldiers who fought in World War II, Haaretz reported, citing a senior Israeli official.

A Putin visit last year was canceled due to a strike by Israeli Foreign Ministry employees.

Putin is scheduled to travel to the United States on May 20 for the G8 summit, where he is expected to meet with President Obama.

In a call earlier this month to congratulate Putin on winning the presidency, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited Putin to visit Israel, Haaretz reported.