Hassan Rouhani
Hassan RouhaniAFP photo

Iran will not give up "one iota" of its nuclear rights, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a speech to clerics, Mehr news agency reported on Tuesday.

Rouhani's comments come ahead of a meeting in New York later in September between his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, on restarting negotiations over the his country's nuclear program.

"Our government will not give up one iota of its absolute rights" on the nuclear issue, Rouhani said.

He also said that after Zarif and Ashton meet, nuclear negotiations "will continue in another place with the 5+1 group," which is made up of the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.

On Friday, after a phone call with Ashton, the P5+1 lead negotiator, Zarif said that Tehran wanted to "remove any ambiguity" about its nuclear work.

Rouhani said soon after his election as president in June that he wanted to hold "serious" talks "without wasting time" on Iran's nuclear program, while maintaining Iran's "undeniable rights" to this program.

In recent years, the Islamic republic has been slapped with several rounds of international sanctions, targeting oil exports and banking transactions, and causing inflation to soar to more than 40 percent.

But Rouhani said that such measures would not make Iran abandon its program.

"The rhetoric of the Iranian administration is one of prudence and the rhetoric of the nation is also one of civility accompanied by resistance and perseverance; and if their (the West’s) language is not one of respect as well, no progress will be made,” he said in his speech to the clerics.

“The West must understand that it will not achieve the least success through sanctions and pressure against the Iranian nation. If the West uses the language of logic, reason and mutual interests on an equal footing, the Iranian administration is also ready to respond in the language of wisdom, prudence and logic,” Rouhani said.