The winds of change are blowing fast in International Relations. Politics is an art of the impossible. That Iran and US would be ready to bury the hatchet and try to explore the common ground for peace was unthinkable only a few months ago when President Ahmadinejad was ruling Iran. Today it seems to near and real. The new President of Iran Mr Rouhani has been elected with the overwhelming mandate of the Iranian public which includes educated elites, traders and youth. Addressing the 68th general assembly of the United Nations he offered the west an opportunity for constructive dialogues to resolve all outstanding issues. Iran is a guided democracy and the Supreme Authority is Ayatollah Khamenai. These leaders came to UN with full freedom and authority to negotiate and the confidence in their expression was a reflection of that. President Rouhani, has called for change and moderation in Iran. The new president had come in the midst of the nuclear dispute with the west. He proposed in his speech a global movement he called ‘Wave – World Against Violence and Extremism’. The supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenai called these efforts “heroic flexibility.” The emergence of President Rouhani demonstrates a unified and genuine effort on behalf of Iran to change the political atmosphere while adhering to the basic precepts and principles of the Islamic republic and the inalienable right of Iran to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.
President Obama also clarified that the US does not seek regime change in Tehran. The two countries can have a different, more open relationship after the dispute is settled.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the United States a “great” nation in a sharp reversal from his predecessors and expressed hope the two governments can stop the escalation of tensions. He appreciated that U.S. President Barack Obama struck a new tone in his UN speech. He said he believes the first step to a meeting between the two leaders was taken Thursday at a meeting on Iran’s nuclear program, where the foreign ministers of both nations talked for the first time in six years. The White House revealed that Rouhani and Obama spoke on the phone prior to the UN address. According to President Rouhani,“the views of our people, the understanding of each other, will grow, and at the level of the two governments that at the very least we can, as a first step, stop further escalation of tensions and then reduce tension as a next step and then pave the way for achieving of mutual interests.I believe that our success was greater than our expectation, especially with the European countries… and I think that the path really has been paved to expand relations in various centers, key world economies.” He said he has a mandate from the Iranian people, who opposed “extremism” and voted for “moderation.” He said this has created a “new environment” that could pave the way for better relations with the West. He promised that Iran would put forth a proposal at talks in Geneva on Oct. 15-16 aimed at resolving the standoff over his country’s nuclear program and easing international sanctions. “We hope that an even more effective step will be taken in Geneva. With sufficient will on both sides — and I assure you that on the Iranian side this will is there fully, 100 per cent — that within a very short time there will be a settlement on the nuclear file.”
Unlike his predecessor Rouhani acknowledged the Holocaust as a crime against the Jews. “I have said before that I am not a historian, and that when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust, it is the historians that should reflect on it. But in general 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 condemn-able as far as we are concerned.”
What else does the world want from Iran?
While the whole world responded positively to the speech of the new leader, Israel’s PM didn’t stop harping the old string. Prime Minister Netanyahu dismissed a charm offensive by Iran’s new president as a ruse concocted by a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Rouhani doesn’t sound like Ahmadinejad but when it comes to Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the only difference between them is this: Ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf’s clothing, Rouhani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a wolf who thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of the international community.
It remains to be seen what happens in the Oct 15th talks in Geneva – probably more of the same (i.e. nothing)