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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs