* Rouhani wants "swiftest solution" to standoff over nuclear
* Warns Iran will not sacrifice interests for sake of deal
* Says date for new talks with powers could be set soon
By Alexei Anishchuk
BISHKEK, Sept 13 Iran wants to end the stand-off
with global powers over its nuclear programme swiftly but will
not sacrifice its rights or interests for the sake of a
solution, President Hassan Rouhani said on Friday.
Meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of
a regional security summit, Rouhani said it was a good time for
new steps to resolve the dispute over a programme Western states
believe is aimed at developing nuclear weapons.
"Regarding the Iranian nuclear issue, we want the swiftest
solution to it within international norms," Rouhani said at the
meeting with Putin in Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek.
"Russia in the past has taken important steps in this sphere
and now is the best opportunity for new steps from your side,"
said Rouhani, whose country has observer status in the Shanghai
Cooperation Organisation, dominated by Russia and China.
Iran has been in on-off talks for years with six global
powers seeking to ensure it does not develop nuclear weapons
capability. A solution has been elusive and the most recent
talks, in April, ended without a breakthrough.
Rouhani, who was elected in June, has said Iran will be
more transparent and less confrontational in talks with the six
powers - the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and
But he made clear earlier on Friday he is only ready to go
so far, indicating Iran would not give up its right to enrich
"I declare that only if there is political will, if there is
mutual respect and mutual interest, and only if the rights of
Iran's people are ensured, can we guarantee the peaceful
character of Iran's nuclear programme," he said.
Western diplomats say Iran has continued to expand its
uranium enrichment capacity in recent months, potentially
shortening the time it would need to produce sufficient
highly-refined material for a bomb.
Rouhani said a date could be set for the next round of talks
later this month during the U.N. General Assembly in New York,
where meetings between Iran and some of the powers are expected.