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.
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

Map Shows Every US School Shooting Since 2013

There have been at least 150 school shootings in the United States since 2013, an average of nearly one per week More

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs