News / Middle East

Iran’s New President Launches Charm Offensive

Iran’s New President Launches Charm Offensivei
X
September 20, 2013 10:04 PM
Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani has launched what analysts are calling a charm offensive before next week’s United Nations General Assembly in New York. As VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports, it is raising hopes there might be a fresh opportunity to negotiate with Iran over its controversial nuclear program.
Iran’s New President Launches Charm Offensive
Meredith Buel
Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani has launched what analysts are calling a charm offensive before next week’s United Nations General Assembly in New York. It is raising hopes there might be a fresh opportunity to negotiate with Iran over its controversial nuclear program.

Rouhani, in a flurry of recent comments, has created a strong impression that Iran is ready for serious diplomacy.

In the latest sign the newly elected leader is open to improving relations with the West, Rouhani told NBC News his country will never develop nuclear weapons. He also said he has the clout to make a deal with the West on the disputed nuclear program.

Rouhani said he wants to move quickly. “Regarding Iran’s nuclear issue, we want the swiftest resolution of this issue in the framework of international standards.”

The Iranian leader’s remarks came days before his first appearance as president on the world stage at the U.N.

Iranian expert Patrick Clawson said, “He is charging ahead with this charm offensive and he will probably be very effective at it because he knows how to reach Western audiences.”

In recent weeks Iran has sent greetings for the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, via Twitter.  

It has transferred responsibility for nuclear negotiations from conservatives in the military to the Foreign Ministry, released a group of political prisoners and exchanged letters with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Even more significant, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is signaling his country is ready for diplomacy.

“We are not opposed to correct and rational steps on the diplomatic front, be they in the world of diplomacy or whether they fall in the arena of domestic politics. I firmly believe in what was termed many years ago as “heroic flexibility.” This is not a problem - flexibility in some areas is essential and is a good thing,” said Khamenei.

What appears to be driving the new tone from Tehran is the country’s faltering economy following multiple rounds of sanctions. Its currency has lost half of its value, and its oil exports are significantly down.

But its nuclear program continues to enrich uranium. Iran says its plants are for peaceful purposes. The West and Israel believe they are a cover for developing weapons.

White House officials say there are currently no meetings scheduled between the president and his Iranian counterpart. But press secretary Jay Carney said Obama is open to negotiations.

“He would, as president, be willing to have bilateral negotiations with the Iranians provided that the Iranians were serious about addressing the international community’s insistence that they give up their nuclear weapons programs,” said Carney.

Even if Iran comes back to the bargaining table, analysts say negotiations with the West will be hard.

“The question is, can we do a deal which preserves what Iran sees as the important parts of its program, but at the same time keeps Iran far from having a capability to quickly develop nuclear weapons,” said Clawson.

In addition to his speech at the U.N., Rouhani plans several public appearances and television interviews during his stay in the United States.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 21, 2013 1:57 PM
Good showing, that's what diplomacy is all about. But what about his FM insisting on Iran's right of a nuclear program? It's really going to be crunchy. What about the students seizing embassies again? Where really is the trouble of Iran anchored?

by: Ajax Lessome from: USA
September 21, 2013 12:39 AM
Iran is no moderate. Iran has a long and notorious history for the torture and severe treatment of its political prisoners and dissenters. It's an unfortunate aspect of the rule under Iran's mullahs who like any other tyrant are more concerned with preserving their power and hold over the people than in governing and leading them into a better future. Khamenei and his handpicked president Rouhani are going to chart a course for Iran that leaves little doubt over the fate of Christians, converts, political opponents, ethnic minorities and all others who are not in lock step with their Islamic view of the world. For all of the attempts at portraying a new moderate face of Iran, Rouhani is a loyal career hardliner. You can see his resume at www.hassan-rouhani.info. The only real hope for Iran's future and political prisoners is regime change

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs