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Report: Rouhani says Iran will not dismantle nuclear facilities

By Chelsea J. Carter, CNN
updated 6:08 PM EST, Fri November 29, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said dismantling nuclear facilities is a red line
  • Rouhani said that the amount of uranium enriched will depend on Iran's needs
  • The Iranian leader gave the interview to mark his 100 days in office

(CNN) -- Iran will not dismantle any of its nuclear facilities as part of an effort to reach a long-term agreement to limit its nuclear development, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in an interview published Friday in The Financial Times.

Asked during the interview if dismantling Iran's nuclear facilities was a "red line," Rouhani said: "100 percent."

Rouhani's statements are unlikely to sit well with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has said any long-term agreement with Iran over its nuclear development must lead to the dismantling of the country's nuclear capability.

Iran and the so-called P5+1 -- the United States, Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany -- agreed Sunday to a six-month deal to limit Tehran's nuclear development.

Even though it's only a short-term agreement, world leaders hope it'll pave the way to a long-term guarantee that Iran won't produce nuclear weapons. And Iran hopes to recoup some of the billions of dollars it's lost as a result of international sanctions.

World powers will suspend sanctions on various items, including gold and petrochemical exports. That suspension will provide Iran with about $1.5 billion in revenue, according to the White House.

Netanyahu has criticized the agreement, calling it a "historic mistake." Now that sanctions are working, Netanyahu wants to see them tightened, not loosened, until Iran shuts down much of its nuclear capability.

Israel and the West have accused Iran of secretly working to develop a nuclear weapons program, an allegation that Tehran has vehemently denied.

"The nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran as has been repeatedly said will be purely for peaceful purposes," Rouhani said.

But he also told the newspaper how much uranium is enriched by Iran will "depend on our needs for nuclear fuel."

Rouhani gave the interview as he marked his 100th day as Iran's leader.

Rouhani, whose tone is far less fiery than that of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, promised during his election campaign that he would work toward positive engagement with the West.

His charm offensive, as it has been described, has raised questions among many about whether Rouhani is serious in easing tensions with the West.

Rouhani told the newspaper that the agreement hammered out in Geneva is an important first step to see if a mutual trust can be built with the United States.

"The problems created over 35 years cannot be resolved over a limited time. The best test to see whether we are capable of building trust or not is this nuclear issue," he said.

"If the first steps taken in Geneva are implemented carefully and precisely, it would mean that we have taken one step forward towards trust."

He also said a recent telephone call with British Prime Minister David Cameron left him with "a feeling that the two sides were willing to move step by step towards better relations."

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