Following his address at the United Nations to the General Assembly on Tuesday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani delivered his first English-language message to Americans. In an interview with CNN’s Christine Amanpour, he said his country was ready for peaceful negotiations and friendship with the United States of America.
Amanpour asked Rouhani why political dialogue of any sort or even a formal handshake didn’t happen between him and U.S. President Barack Obama at the U.N. General Assembly. The Iranian President replied that he was willing to talk to the U.S. and preparations were underway with communicating with Washington. “But I believe we didn't have sufficient time to really coordinate the meeting to the full extent that we needed to,” he said.
Rouhani also clarified that he had Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini’s full support to hold negotiations with the West. It is a positive development since in February, the Ayatollah, who has the final say in all key religious and political decisions, refused to hold direct talks with the U.S., claiming it wouldn’t solve any problems.
Hassan Rouhani who was elected as the President of Iran on June 15 this year is believed to be a more moderate and pragmatic leader than his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, who was highly criticized for his anti-Semitic and anti-West rhetoric.
On September 5, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted that Iran no longer denied the Holocaust and the man who did was no longer in power. Referring to Zarif’s tweet Amanpour asked for Rouhani’s comment. He said, “I can tell you that any crime that happens in history against humanity, including the crime the Nazis committed towards the Jews, as well as non-Jewish people, was reprehensible and condemnable as far as we are concerned”
Rouhani is working really hard on restoring the image of Iran as a more tolerant nation. His willingness to start fresh with the West was reflected in his message at the end of the interview. It was delivered in English-language by him.“I would like to say to American people: I bring peace and friendship from Iranians to Americans,” he concluded with a friendly smile on his face.
What do you think about Rouhani’s views? Do you think he’d be able to bring about positive changes in U.S.-Iran relations?
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