By Justin Sink - 08/06/13 04:12 PM EDT
The new president of Iran is urging "serious and substantive" negotiations with the West over his country's nuclear program, saying his government was eager to resolve the concerns voiced by the United States and its allies.
Hassan Rouhani told reporters that Iran had a "commitment to interact respectfully with the whole world" and was ready to negotiate about its nuclear program, according to Voice of America.
He later tweeted that "if [the] U.S. shows goodwill and intentions based on mutual respect and equal footing, without [a] hidden agenda, [the] way for interaction will be open."
Iran has insisted its intentions are peaceful, but there is a concern among U.S. lawmakers that Iran could use the negotiations as a stalling tactic to continue developing nuclear weapons.
A letter to President Obama signed by 76 senators over the weekend warned "Iran has used negotiations in the past to stall for time."
"We hope such a surprising and convincing electoral outcome will persuade Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to abandon Iran's nuclear weapons quest," the senators wrote. "But until we see a significant slowdown of Iran's nuclear activities, we believe our nation must toughen sanctions and reinforce the credibility of our option to use military force at the same time as we fully explore a diplomatic solution to our dispute with Iran."
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that Rouhani's election was "an opportunity for Iran to act quickly to resolve the international community's deep concerns over Iran's nuclear weapons program."
"Should this new government choose to engage substantively and seriously to meet its international obligations and find a peaceful solution to this issue, it will find a willing partner in the United States," Carney said.
The White House spokesman added that Iran would be able to "reenter the international community" and "ease the burden of its isolation" through agreeing to terminate its weapons program.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Interfax on Tuesday that his country wanted a new round of talks over the Iran nuclear situation within the next month.
"This round, given all the circumstances, must be held by mid-September," Ryabkov said. "This cannot be delayed any longer."