News / Middle East

Rouhani: Will Present 'True Face of Iran' at UN

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, June 17, 2013.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, June 17, 2013.
Reuters
President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday he would use his visit to the United Nations this week to present the “true face of Iran” and to pursue talks and cooperation with the West to end Iran's nuclear dispute.
 
A moderate conservative elected in June, Rouhani was speaking shortly before a five-day trip Western powers hope will show a new readiness on Tehran's part to strike a deal on a nuclear program they fear could yield an atomic bomb.
 
Recent Overtures from Iran

September 4: President Hassan Rouhani tweets “As the sun is about to set here in Tehran I wish all Jews, especially Iranian Jews, a blessed Rosh Hashanah.”  

September 18: Iran releases 11 prominent political prisoners, including human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.

September 18: In an NBC interview,  Rouhani says Iran would under no circumstances seek any weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.

September 20: Rouhani writes an opinion piece in The Washington Post advocating the use of constructive dialogue to solve global problems.
Iran has repeatedly stated its nuclear activities are peaceful, a message it sought to emphasize on Monday with the phased transfer to Iranian engineers of its only nuclear power plant from its Russian contractors.
 
“Unfortunately in recent years the face of Iran, a great and civilized nation, has been presented in another way,” Rouhani said, according to comments published on his official website. “I and my colleagues will take the opportunity to present the true face of Iran as a cultured and peace-loving country,”
 
Rouhani did not make clear who he blames for any distortion of Iran's image. But the comments suggest he is intent on distancing himself from the controversial, outspoken approach to the West adopted by predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
 
The United States and its allies have imposed increasing  economic sanctions on Iran in recent years, partly a response to what the West regards as Tehran's failure to open its nuclear program to international inspection. Ahmadinejad had also raised concern with comments on the Holocaust and homosexuality.
 
Israel has made it clear it could mount a strike against Iran if it felt Tehran were close to acquiring nuclear weapons.
 
Rouhani, a former nuclear negotiator under reformist president Mohammad Khatami, criticized the West over sanctions he said had inflicted suffering on Iranians.
 
“On this trip, I will try to deliver the voice of the oppressed people of Iran to the world and we should say that sanctions are an illegal and unacceptable path,” he told journalists before leaving, his official website reported.
 
“The West should opt for the path of talks and cooperation and consider mutual interests,” he said.

Sanctions biting
 
Rouhani has vowed to improve Iran's ailing economy, which has suffered deeply from embargoes.
 
Last week Rouhani's tone was endorsed by Iran's most powerful figure, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who spoke of “heroic flexibility”, suggesting a new willingness to engage in diplomacy with Iran's adversaries.
 
U.S. officials have left open the possibility that U.S. President Barack Obama and Rouhani could meet on the sidelines of the U.N. meeting.
 
Iran's foreign minister and lead nuclear negotiator, Mohammad Javad Zarif, was set to meet the European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, formally starting the new era of negotiations between the two sides.
 
An unnamed source close to Iran's negotiators was quoted by the state news agency, IRNA, as saying talks between the two parties had been “completely transformed” by Rouhani's election.
 
“This is a new game and it will have new rules and the aim is to reach common points of agreement between both sides,” the source was quoted as saying.
 
Rouhani described the transfer of the Bushehr nuclear power plant from its Russian engineers as a “blessed event”
 
Iran's nuclear energy chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, said Tehran was in talks with Moscow about the construction of more such plants.
 
Russian experts would remain at the plant under an agreement
 
between the two sides before it is transferred completely to Iran, ISNA news agency quoted him as saying, describing it as an “interim” phase that could last two years.
 
Bushehr is not considered a major proliferation risk by Western states, whose fears are focused on sites where Iran has defied global pressure by enriching uranium beyond levels needed to fuel power plants.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Official Pleased With Ebola Containment Measure

Official says three-day sensitization effort will help reduce infection rate of Ebola disease nationwide More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
September 23, 2013 5:30 PM
If Iran could just open its door more to freedom, democracy, and freedom of speech especially... More respect to their people. Open their kindness to the world as leaders (The people of Iran are great people!)... Then they could not only be a much wealthier country in the world, but also a great tourist destination. I would like to see that. World leaders have us not wanting us to do business with Iran because of possible nuclear ambitions. Which is entirely understandable. Iran must comfort the world by showing they care about nuclear ambitions and treaties. If they can pull this off would benefit themselves greatly and keep Iran together. They most certainly never want what is happening in Syria, to happen to themselves. They must make their own people like them most importantly.


by: Icansee4miles from: New York, USA
September 23, 2013 4:46 PM
Iran just took control of the Al Bushehr Nuclear Plant, after 37 years of construction. It plays a pivotal role in Amazon Kindle's new thriller, The Bahrain Protocol. The book predicts the U.S. withdrawal from the world stage, Iran's ascendancy, and Israel’s gamble to stop their nuclear program-with the assistance of former nemesis Saudi Arabia. It's a great read-and Al Bushehr's capacity for destroying the Arabian Gulf is front and center!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
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 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 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.


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