Iran's foreign minister-designate on Tuesday told lawmakers he would protect the nation's atomic work if they approve his appointment, the Associated Press reported.
Mohammad Javad Zarif said the foreign ministry "will not withdraw one iota" in defending Iran's "nuclear rights" his leadership. Speaking in an address carried on state television, he nonetheless pledged to improve Tehran's ties with other governments.
Zarif's deep experience in dealing with the United States prompted signals of optimism about his pending nomination by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who took office a little over a week ago. Still, the nominee has faced mounting opposition by Iran's conservative-dominated parliament, which has been rankled by Zarif's ability to meld into U.S. society when he was Tehran's envoy to the United Nations between 2002 and 2007, the Washington Post reported.
Tehran has been mired in tensions with Washington and other Western governments, which believe Iranian nuclear efforts are directed toward development of a nuclear-bomb capability. The Persian Gulf power has consistently denied that contention.