"What we wish for in this region is rule by the will of the people," he said. "We believe in the ballot box. We do not seek war with any country. We seek peace and friendship among the nations of the region."
With respect to the Internet and censorship, Rouhani said, "The viewpoint of the government is that people must have full access to all information worldwide. Our opinion on this should be based on the protection of our national identity and on our morals."
Rouhani spoke to the American television network just days before he is to make his first appearance as president on the world stage when he attends the United Nations General Assembly in New York. U.S. officials will be watching next week's visit closely for signs that Rouhani will warm relations with the West and take a more moderate line in the next negotiations on Iran's disputed nuclear program.
"We have never pursued or sought a nuclear bomb and we are not going to do so," Rouhani said. "We have time and again said that under no circumstances would we seek any weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, nor will we ever."
It was a claim Iran has made before, that its nuclear activities are purely peaceful. However, the U.S. and its allies suspect Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon, a feat some experts say the country might be able to accomplish as early as next year.
Rouhani also addressed a question that many in the U.S. have been asking: Does he really have the power to make major decisions and concessions on the nuclear issue?
"In its nuclear program, this government enters with full power and has complete authority," he said. "We have sufficient political latitude to solve this problem."