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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid