SHOTLIST:

AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY

Washington, DC - October 4, 2013

1. SOUNDBITE: (English) President Barack Obama

"Here's what we know. He was not necessarily the preferred candidate of some of the ruling clerics when he initially threw his hat into the ring. He won pretty decisively. So what we know is that in the Iranian population, at least, there is a genuine interest in moving in a new direction."

(White dissolve between bites)

2. SOUNDBITE: (English) President Barack Obama

"I think Rouhani has staked his position on the idea that he can improve relations with the rest of the world. And so far he has been saying a lot of the right things. The question is now, can he follow through. The way the Iranian system works, he is not the only decision maker, he is not even the ultimate decision maker. But if in fact, he is able to present a credible plan that says Iran is pursuing peaceful nuclear energy but we're not pursuing nuclear weapons and we are willing to be part of a internationally verified structure, so that all other countries in the world know they're not pursing nuclear weapons, then in fact, they can improve relations, improve their economy and we should test that."

STORYLINE:

In an exclusive sit-down interview with the Associated Press, President Barack Obama defended his outreach to Iran's moderate new president, Hassan Rouhani, saying he's shown 'genuine interest in moving in a new direction,' and should be tested.

"He was not necessarily the preferred candidate of some of the ruling clerics when he initially threw his hat into the ring," Obama said.

"He won pretty decisively. So what we know is that in the Iranian population, at least, there is a genuine interest in moving in a new direction," he added.

Obama said Rouhani has staked his reputation on improving ties with the West.

And he said if he can prove to the world in a credible, verifiable way that Iran is pursing nuclear energy strictly for peaceful purposes and not for weapons, then the world community "should test that."

Obama said Iran still seems at least a year away from the ability to develop any nuclear weapon.

 

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