Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani addressed the UN General Assembly taking a far more moderate and diplomatic course than his firebrand predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Propelled into office by a broad coalition of support from elites to students to former political prisoners, Mr. Rouhani has taken the West aback with his moderate and conciliatory approach to solving Iran’s problem’s with them and moving to resolve the differences over Iran’s nuclear energy program that resulted in crippling economic sanctions.
While the much anticipated meeting with US President Barack Obama did not take place, talks are scheduled for Thursday with Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State, John Kerry, the first ministerial talks between Tehran and Washington since the Islamic revolution in 1979. Despite the softening of the rhetoric by Iran and the outreach to repair the damage done by Ahmadinejad, there were still those who are not just wary but completely unconvinced with their own agenda. In any case, Pres. Rouhani was well received and has continued on his mission to repair Iran’s image. It is quite understandable that both sides are easing into this new relationship, one giant step, lots of baby steps towards better cooperation.
The full transcript can be read here (pdf)
Iran’s new president treads middle ground in United Nations address
Breaking from his predecessor’s combative rhetoric, Hassan Rouhani spoke to concerns of both conservatives and liberals
With expectations so high, Hassan Rouhani’s speech to the general assembly was never going to be an easy one. In Iran, radicals will have listened intently to their new president, keen to ensure he wouldn’t be too soft on the west, especially the United States, Tehran’s sworn enemy since the 1979 Islamic revolution. After all, 34 years on, faithfuls still chant “death to America” every Friday after performing their weekly prayers.
Reformists, too, had pinned their hopes on Rouhani, expecting him to impress the world with a moderate voice, and to globally revamp Iran’s image, so badly hurt under eight years of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Being a moderate, an ultimate insider who has tried to bridge the gap between major factions of the Islamic republic, Rouhani succeeded in being just moderate enough – albeit judged by Iranian standards. He didn’t impress either group, nor did he particularly disappoint them. It was a speech that both sides seemed to agree was worth listening to.