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Iran's Rouhani tells UN: we pose no threat to the world

•, Julian Borger and Ed Pilkington
 Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, declared that "peace is within reach" on Tuesday, in a hotly anticipated speech at the United Nations in which he offered immediate negotiations aimed at removing any "reasonable concerns" over his country's nuclear programme.

Rouhani argued that in return, Iran wanted the international community to recognise its right to enrich uranium, the issue that has been at the heart of the diplomatic impasse over the past 11 years.

The Iranian president, elected in June, was speaking a few hours Barack Obama had stood at the same podium and pledged to focus his administration's foreign policy in its remaining three years on the Middle East, particularly on reaching a diplomatic settlement in Iran.

Obama assigned his secretary of state, John Kerry, to oversee negotiations with Tehran and offered Rouhani an important symbolic gesture, making the first official US acknowledgement of the CIA's well-documented role in the ousting of Iran's democratically-elected government in 1953.

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