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Iran’s new president to seek talks with US

Hasan Rouhani knew there was an element of risk.

world Updated: Jun 27, 2013 00:57 IST
HT Correspondent

Hasan Rouhani knew there was an element of risk. rRouhani said one-on-one talks with Washington are the only way for breakthroughs in the nuclear standoff, given that the US — as he put it — is the world’s “sheriff.”

Just a week before Iran’s election gatekeepers announced the presidential ballot, Rouhani said one-on-one talks with Washington are the only way for breakthroughs in the nuclear standoff, given that the US — as he put it — is the world’s “sheriff.”

Such a public portrayal of America’s importance and the need to make overtures to it undoubtedly rattled a few among Iran’s ruling clerics, who decide which candidates are cleared to run. Yet they allowed Rouhani to enter the race, and to the surprise of many, he surged to a runaway victory.

Rouhani’s repeated emphasis on direct outreach to Washington may now have a chance for real traction among the ultimate decision-makers in Iran — the ruling clerics and the powerful Revolutionary Guard. They have long opposed bilateral talks, insisting they would do no good.