In latest overture, Rouhani urges world leaders to engage with Iran

WASHINGTON Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:16pm EDT

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani smiles during an interview with Ann Curry from the U.S. television network NBC in Tehran, in this picture taken September 18, 2013, and provided by the Iranian Presidency. Reuters/President.ir/Handout via Reuters

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani smiles during an interview with Ann Curry from the U.S. television network NBC in Tehran, in this picture taken September 18, 2013, and provided by the Iranian Presidency. Reuters/President.ir/Handout via Reuters

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged world leaders on Thursday to "seize the opportunity" presented by his election to engage Iran in constructive dialogue and said his country was ready to facilitate talks between the Syrian government and the opposition.

In an opinion piece published in the Washington Post on Thursday in advance of the U.N. General Assembly annual meeting next week, the centrist cleric said nations needed to seek "win-win outcomes" instead of using "brute force" to combat terrorism, extremism, cybercrime and other challenges.

"Gone is the age of blood feuds," he wrote. "World leaders are expected to lead in turning threats into opportunities."

The piece appeared to be Rouhani's latest signal that he plans to pursue a thaw in relations with the United States and other Western nations, which believe Iran is developing nuclear weapons and have imposed economic sanctions that have damaged Iran's economy.

Rouhani said in an interview with an American television network this week that his country would never develop nuclear weapons. In the Post, he referred to Iran's "peaceful nuclear energy program" and made no suggestion of giving it up.

"To us, mastering the atomic fuel cycle and generating nuclear power is as much about diversifying our energy resources as it is about who Iranians are as a nation, our demand for dignity and respect and our consequent place in the world," he wrote.

Acknowledging a change in tone from Iran since the cleric's election in June, the White House said on Thursday that President Barack Obama might meet with Rouhani in New York next week.

"A zero-sum, Cold War mentality leads to everyone's loss," Rouhani wrote in the Post. "Sadly, unilateralism often continues to overshadow constructive approaches. Security is pursued at the expense of the insecurity of others, with disastrous consequences."

Rouhani said the people of the Middle East should be allowed to decide their own fate. He said he was ready to help in Syria, where government forces and rebels have fought a civil war for 2 1/2 years. Iran has supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with weapons and other military aid.

"I announce my government's readiness to help facilitate dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition," Rouhani wrote.

He said Iranians had embraced his pledge to engage in constructive interaction with the world.

"As I depart for New York for the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, I urge my counterparts to seize the opportunity presented by Iran's recent election. I urge them to make the most of the mandate for prudent engagement that my people have given me and to respond genuinely to my government's efforts to engage in constructive dialogue."

(Writing by Jim Loney; Editing by Peter Cooney)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (3)
bothandeach wrote:
Unfortunately we always have the headline writers e.g. w.r.t. the new Iranian President: “in latest overture” destroying the real news. They presume they have the duty to inform us about the information. But as so often, they are simply the tools of whatever affiliation they get their dinner from. Unnecessary.

Sep 19, 2013 12:30am EDT  --  Report as abuse
MladenA wrote:
What I do not understand is how is it possible that in the whole of the western world there is not one TV station which would check that the translation from Farsi in this video is accurate and then broadcast the video in which Rouhani boasts how he duped the European nuclear negotiators. There must be some people still left who are concerned that a nuclear war would be catastrophic for everyone, not only Israel.. Why cannot the Israeli TV channels do it? Why does not the Israeli government call a press conference and show the video?

Video: Rouhani boasting how he duped the European nuclear negotiators
http://www.madisdead.blogspot.co.il/2013/08/video-rouhani-boasting-how-he-duped.html

Sep 20, 2013 4:21am EDT  --  Report as abuse
MladenA wrote:
What I do not understand is how is it possible that in the whole of the western world there is not one TV station which would check that the translation from Farsi in this video is accurate and then broadcast the video in which Rouhani boasts how he duped the European nuclear negotiators. There must be some people still left who are concerned that a nuclear war would be catastrophic for everyone, not only Israel.. Why cannot the Israeli TV channels do it? Why does not the Israeli government call a press conference and show the video?

Video: Rouhani boasting how he duped the European nuclear negotiators

Sep 20, 2013 4:22am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Full focus