Iran president-elect Rohani hopes for accord with world powers on nuclear programme

TEHERAN (AFP) - President-elect Hassan Rowhani expressed hope on Monday that Iran can reach a new agreement with the international powers over its nuclear programme, saying such a deal should be reached through more transparency and mutual trust.

Mr Rohani, a moderate cleric who was declared winner of Iran's presidential election on Saturday, ending eight years of conservative rule, also described as unfair and unjustified sanctions imposed against the Islamic republic over the nuclear issue.

The 64-year-old's victory raised hopes of an easing of strained ties with Western nations, but he used his first news conference on Monday to rule out a halt to his country's controversial enrichment of uranium.

"This period is over," Mr Rohani said, referring to international demands for a halt to Teheran's uranium enrichment programme.

There were "many ways to build trust" with the West, he added, as Iran would be "more transparent to show that its activities fall within the framework of international rules".

Mr Rohani has previously vowed to restore diplomatic ties with the United States, which cut relations in the aftermath of the 1979 seizure of the US embassy by Islamist students.

Helped to victory with the backing of reformists, and the result of Friday's election was welcomed by thousands of people who took to the streets and met with cautious optimism from world powers.

Teheran has been engaged since 2006 with the P5+1 - the UN Security Council permanent members, Britain, China, France, Russia, the US, plus Germany - over its controversial nuclear work, but with no breakthrough.

Western powers and Israel believe the programme is being used to develop an atomic bomb, but Teheran has always insisted it is for purely peaceful purposes.