Iran Willing to Begin 'Time-Bound,' 'Results-Oriented' Steps for Nuke Program

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani criticizes Cold War mentality, but expresses openness to nuke talks.

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani broke from his recent tone of reconciliation with the West on Tuesday during remarks before the U.N. General Assembly, where he offered a catalogue of U.S. and Israeli foreign policy in recent decades that he describes as "serious threats against world peace and human security."

[READ: A Friendlier Iran: Diplomatic Breakthrough or Sinister Feint?]

"The age of zero-sum gain is over," said Rouhani, denouncing policies he sees as "Islamophobic, Shiaphobic, Iranophobic." Military methods to subjugate others are examples of old ways to address new circumstances, he said.

"Western values as universal ones represents another manifestation of this conceptual mindset," Rouhani said. "The persistence of a Cold War mentality and bipolar divisions of the world into the 'Superior us' and 'Inferior others' [contributes to] fanning fear and phobia."

Iranian officials, including Rouhani, suprised many with recent overtures of good faith. The government released roughly 80 political prisoners shortly after Rouhani left Iran for New York on Monday, and have publicly sent good wishes to Jews celebrating Rosh Hashanah.

Without directly mentioning the U.S. or Israel, Rouhani on Tuesday cited the arming of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban in the 1980s, the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the ongoing war in Afghanistan, the prospect of attacks on Syria, drone strikes in countries such as Pakistan and the "occupation" of Palestine as the chief contributors to worldwide violence and extremism.

Rouhani did, however, leave the door open to Thursday's negotiations with the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany on the future of its nuclear program. Iran has been subjected to crippling economic sanctions over concerns it plans to develop nuclear weapons, which Rouhani called "an imaginary threat."

Iran's recent overtures could still signal a new dialogue between Iran and the U.S., which have been at odds since the 1979 revolution there.

[READ: Iranian Foreign Minister to Meet With Kerry at U.N. General Assembly]

The American delegation did not boycott Rouhani's remarks on Tuesday, though the Israelis did repeat this traditional symbolic gesture.

"[Iran is] prepared to engage immediately in time-bound and results-oriented talks to build mutual confidence and remove mutual uncertainties with full transparency," said Rouhani, wearing his traditional cleric's black robes and white headdress. Iran is willing to dispel all "reasonable concerns" about the program, he said.

"We can arrive at a framework to manage our differences," he said at the conclusion of his remarks. "Peace is within reach."

"The Islamic Republic [of Iran] invites you, and the world community, an invitation to join the 'Wave' -- World Against Violence and Extremism," he said. "A good and bright future awaits the world.

He closed by citing a passage from the Koran, saying "My virtuous servants will inherit the earth."

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