During an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani delivered an English message for the first time to the American people.
"I would like to say to the American people: I bring peace and friendship from Iranians to Americans."
These were the Iranian president's last words directed towards the Americans during Christiane Amanpour's interview with Hassan Rouhani. The president was questioned on matters such as meeting with President Obama, his view on the Holocaust, and being the 'center of attention' of the General Assembly.
Responding to Amanpour's inquiry in regard to the meeting with Mr. Obama, Rouhani explained that meeting with the president was a consideration that had undergone several discussions. He said, however, that there was not enough time to coordinate and execute the meeting to the "full extent" needed. Although the leaders of both countries will not meet, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will sit down together later this week to discuss contending issues, such as that of Iran's nuclear program, reported the Washington Post.
Perhaps being the most iconic Iranian political figure of the decade, Mr. Rouhani managed to capture the world's attention earlier on Tuesday afternoon, while addressing the United Nations General Assembly on its 68th annual gathering. During his speech, the Iranian president announced that the Islamic Republic was ready to hold talks with the United States, in regard to its nuclear program, based on what he called "equal footing" and "mutual respect". He also advocated for the use of peace and diplomacy, as opposed to violence and extremism in solving worldly issues. The president went as far as to propose a U.N.-backed plan, dubbed 'The World Against Violence and Extremism', which as the name implies, is an effort dedicated to promoting peace and diplomacy.
Mr. Rouhani also went on to state Iran's stance on its nuclear program, claiming that his country never has, and never will pursue the development of nuclear weapons. He further stated that the enrichment of uranium solely for peaceful purposes has always been the will and "position of Iran", and an inalienable right of the Islamic Republic.
Hassan Rouhani, unlike his predecessor, has been able to set an optimistic tone during his stay in the United States. Advocating for peace and prosperity, rather than belligerence and extremism, has captivated the eyes of many politicians, including President Obama, who lauded Mr. Rouhani's efforts to engage on a diplomatic track.
While the focus of attention has been drawn towards the new Iranian president, other rivals of the Islamic Republic, such as Israel, have been skeptical of Mr. Rouhani's intentions. Benjamin Netanyahu described the Iranian president's speech as cynical, and stated that the world 'should not be fooled by Rouhani's "soothing words."'
Like many other Iranian politicians, Mr. Rouhani has received both acclamation and criticism from several individuals and groups. It must be noted however, that the president's great efforts to utilize peace and diplomacy in solving global issues greatly exceed the efforts of his predecessors and of other politicians; he may in fact entirely revolutionize the way in which the Western world views the Islamic Republic.