U.S. hopes that Iranian President-elect will reach diplomatic solution on nuclear program

The U.S. hopes Iranian President-elect Hassan Rouhani and Iran's government will engage with the international community to diplomatically solve the issue of Iran's nuclear program, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday.

Marie Harf, the State Department's deputy spokesperson, made the statement on Wednesday during a daily press briefing in Washington. Harf responded to a question about pending legislation in Congress and how increased Iranian sanctions could impact talks with Iran a few days ahead of President-elect Rouhani's inauguration. Harf said the U.S. hopes the change in leadership will result in a diplomatic solution to the nuclear problem.

"Following his inauguration, we hope that President-elect Rouhani, who you are correct will be inaugurated this weekend, and the Iranian government will engage substantively with the international community to reach a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program," Harf said. "We and our international partners remain ready to meet at the earliest opportunity once Iran is prepared to do so."

While Harf would not comment on the State Department's position on the proposed legislation to increase sanctions against Iran, she said Congress would continue to work with Congress to pressure Iran and make it clear talks will occur when Iran is ready.

"We have been clear that sanctions are an important part of the pressure we put on Iran," Harf said. "But I don't want to comment on this specific legislation in any way, but I think we're going to continue working with Congress to put pressure on Iran, to isolate Iran, but also to make clear to the Iranians that we're ready to sit down and talk with them substantively when they are."