WASHINGTON: Iran will find the United States a "willing partner" if new President Hassan Rowhani is prepared for serious talks on its nuclear program, the White House said Sunday.
In a message congratulating Rowhani on his inauguration as Iranian President, the White House said it "presents an opportunity for Iran to act quickly to resolve the international community's deep concerns over Iran's nuclear 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," the statement by White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
In taking the oath of office in Tehran Sunday, Rowhani called on the West to engage Iran through dialogue not sanctions.
"The only path to interact with Iran is through negotiations on equal grounds, reciprocal trust-building, mutual respect and reducing hostilities," Rowhani said after being sworn in before the parliament.
"If you want a proper answer, do not speak with Iran with the language of sanctions but with the language of respect," he said, adding Iran would "not surrender to sanctions, nor be threatened with war."
The West is hoping for a fresh start under Rowhani after years of unsuccessful negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear program, which it suspects is aimed at developing a nuclear weapons capability.