News / Middle East

Iran's Rouhani to Strike Softer Tones at UN

Iran's Rouhani to Strike Softer Tones at UNi
X
September 24, 2013 4:55 PM
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will address the United Nations General Assembly for the first time at Tuesday's opening session. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports that expectations are high for Iran's new leader, who is taking a less aggressive approach to nuclear talks.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will address the United Nations General Assembly for the first time at Tuesday's opening session.  After setting a reformist tone throughout his early days in office, expectations are high for Iran's new leader, who is taking a less aggressive approach to nuclear talks.
 
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Iran's new president could signal a new way forward.
 
"I think Rouhani's comments have been very positive, but everything needs to be put to the test, we'll see where we go," said Kerry.
 
Iran's nuclear program is what most concerns the United States, because Washington believes Tehran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon.  Iran says its atomic activities are for peaceful, civilian purposes.
 
Hassan Rouhani

  • Elected president with slightly more than 50 percent of the vote in June, 2013
  • 64-years-old
  • Member of the Expediency Discernment Council
  • Served as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council from 1989 to 2005
  • Member of parliament from 1980 to 2000 
  • Member of the Assembly of Experts since 1999
  • Served as Iran's chief nuclear negotiator before Saeed Jalili
President Rouhani has taken the lead in trying to soothe those tensions, saying that his country will never develop nuclear weapons and that he wants "the swiftest resolution of this issue in the framework of international standards."
 
That sort of message represents a major shift from former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who routinely threatened those opposing Iran's nuclear program.  Former U.S. Ambassador Adam Ereli says it is a decidedly more-diplomatic approach.
 
"Rouhani is a very different personality than Ahmadinejad. He's much more sophisticated.  He's much more cosmopolitan.  He's much more of a politician and less of a populist," said Ereli.
 
However, Ereli points out this is more form than substance; real power rests with Iran's religious leaders.
 
"The fundamental tenets of the regime are constant.  And the intentions of the regime haven't changed, whether it be their nuclear program, whether it be their support for terror," said Ereli.
 
Israel has long called for tougher international action against Iran's nuclear program and does not believe President Rouhani offers anything new.  Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev feels the current warm words coming from Iran are merely a ploy.
 
"What we heard from the Iranian leadership is unfortunately just sugar-colored words. Words designed to deceive.  Words designed to lull the international community into a complacency," said Regev.
 
US-Iran Relations
 
  • Iran, U.S. leaders have not had face-to-face contact in more than three decades.
  • U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Iran's Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi were the last to meet in 1977.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki fail to hold talks on stabilizing Iraq at a 2007 Sharm el-Sheikh conference, but greet each other at a lunch
  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani have exchanged letters since Rouhani's 2013 election
Ploy or no, at the very least President Rouhani's overtures give Washington time to step back from confronting Iran at a time of instability in Syria and Egypt, says Cato Institute analyst Doug Bandow.
 
"I'm sure they want to put this off. I think the new government in Iran is the best reason for them to do so. To be able to say, 'Look. We don't know where this is going but there's much more hope today with someone who within the Iranian system is a moderate,'" said Bandow.
 
However, some experts, such as former ambassador Ereli, doubt that Rouhani is truly a moderate at all.
 
"We have a more capable adversary in Rouhani, not a more responsible partner. And so we should be doubly alert to him and what he is trying to do on behalf of the regime just because he's going to be better at it," opined Ereli.
 
While there are no plans for President Rouhani to meet with President Obama at the U.N., his foreign minister will meet with Secretary Kerry and other international diplomats as part of Security Council talks on Iran's nuclear program.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More