Iran's Rouhani to speak at yearly U.N. session in New York

DUBAI Wed Sep 4, 2013 8:56am EDT

Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani gestures to the media during a news conference in Tehran June 17, 2013. REUTERS/Fars News/Majid Hagdost

Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani gestures to the media during a news conference in Tehran June 17, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Fars News/Majid Hagdost

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DUBAI (Reuters) - President Hassan Rouhani will attend the yearly United Nations General Assembly in New York later this month, Iranian media reported on Wednesday, an event his predecessor used to make incendiary statements on the world stage.

A relatively moderate cleric, who has said he wants to ease tensions with the West, Rouhani will give three speeches there, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted as saying.

Rouhani's predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speeches at the General Assembly included questioning the Holocaust and the U.S. account of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Western envoys typically walked out of his speeches in protest.

Iran is engaged in a stand-off with the West over its disputed nuclear program, and negotiations with world powers over the scope of the program have stalled since April.

Rouhani has yet to name a new nuclear negotiator to replace Saeed Jalili, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war who was seen by diplomats as uncompromising, but Zarif indicated on Wednesday that Rouhani has already finalized the Iranian negotiating team.

(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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