“As a member of the European Union (EU), Italy can cooperate to resolve the nuclear issue,” Rouhani said in a meeting with Italy’s Prime Minister Enrico Letta in New York on the sidelines of the 68th annual session of the UN General Assembly on Thursday.
“Sanctions have had no bearing on Iran’s nuclear program, and have only put people under pressure. We regard these sanctions as illegal and inhuman,” the president stated.
The United States, Israel and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program, with the US and European Union using the claim as an excuse to impose illegal sanctions against Tehran.
Iran has categorically rejected the allegation against its peaceful nuclear energy program, stressing that as a committed member of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it is entitled to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
President Rouhani further pointed to Iran’s deep-rooted relations with Italy and stressed the importance of improving mutual ties in economic, cultural, scientific, academic and tourism fields.
He said Iran is ready to meet Italy’s energy needs, adding, ”In this regard, bilateral ties can be expanded.”
The Italian premier, for his part, said Rome regards itself as a “bridge” between Iran and the West, and added that when his country assumes the rotating presidency of the European Union in 2016, it will try its utmost to further strengthen Rome-Tehran ties.
Letta emphasized that Italy supports nuclear talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - China, Russia, France, Britain, the US - and Germany aimed at clearing up misunderstandings.
Italy seeks to be a reliable partner for Iran, he said.
On Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his counterparts from the six world powers held substantial talks at the United Nations headquarters in New York about the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program.
"We have agreed to meet in Geneva on the 15 and 16 of October to pursue the agenda, to carry on from today's meeting and to hopefully move this process forward," EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said after the talks.
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