Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza conflict: 72-hour ceasefire deal sets stage for Cairo talks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

FOCUS

Spain's El Hierro to become world's first self-powered island

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

ENCORE!

Luc Besson back in action with Scarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Iraq: Kurdish forces fight to protect Yazidis

Read more

  • France’s ex-PM Juppé sets up presidential clash with Sarkozy

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    Read more

  • France urges Iran, others in region, to join fight against IS

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • A new view on Normandy landings, 70 years on

    Read more

  • Video: Dozens arrested despite smaller protests in Ferguson

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

  • Deadly airstrikes hit Gaza as ceasefire with Israel collapses

    Read more

  • Suspected Ebola cases in Austria, new drug raises hopes

    Read more

  • WWII anniversary highlights best - and worst - of Paris police

    Read more

  • Headscarf at the beach sparks French MEP’s fury

    Read more

  • Video: Life in under-siege Donetsk

    Read more

  • Racism, riots and police violence: USA under scrutiny

    Read more

  • ‘Let it be’: Londoners sick of Abbey Road tourists

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Iran poses no threat to world peace, Rohani tells UN

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-09-25

Iranian President Hassan Rohani made his first appearance on the world stage on Tuesday, telling the UN General Assembly that his country was ready for better engagement with the West.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani told world leaders gathered at the United Nations in New York on Tuesday that Iran “poses absolutely no threat to the world or the region… Let me say loud and clear that peace is within reach.”

Rohani also added that nuclear weapons “have no place in Iran's security and defense doctrine.”

In his debut appearance on the world diplomatic stage since taking winning Iran's presidential election in June, he repeatedly underscored a desire for a thaw in relations with the US.

“Commensurate with the political will of the leadership in the United States and hoping that they will refrain from following the short-sighted interest of warmongering pressure groups, we can arrive at a framework to manage differences,” Rohani said to the UN General Assembly.

However, he also spoke firmly against the four rounds of sanctions that the United Nations has imposed on the Islamic Republic in the past six years, and against American hegemony.

“Unjust sanctions ... are intrinsically inhumane and against peace,” Rohani lamented. “It is not the states and the political elite that are targeted, but rather, it is the common people who are victimised by these sanctions.”

Rohani also adopted language similar to that of his hard-line predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and criticised the US as a superpower that seeks to impose its will abroad and discriminates against smaller and poorer countries.

“Propagandistic and unfounded faith-phobic, Islamo-phobic, Shia-phobic, and Iran-phobic discourses do indeed represent serious threats against world peace and human security,” he said.

Missed handshake

While Iran agreed to restart stalled nuclear negotiations with the so-called six world powers on Thursday on the sidelines of the General Assembly, a much awaited and highly-symbolic handshake between Rohani and President Barack Obama was not to be.

Rohani told US news channel CNN later that he did not meet Obama at the UN because the two sides “didn’t have sufficient time to really coordinate the meeting.” Observers said that the missed handshake reflected the intense pressure both leaders feel at home to proceed cautiously.

Obama, who spoke hours earlier at the General Assembly, repeated that he favoured finding a peaceful solution to nuclear issue, but would prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

“[Rohani’s] conciliatory words will have to be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable,” he told the gathered heads of state.

Syria, a close ally of Iran, remained one of the other difficult, sticking points between the two countries.

Rohani said the West and Middle East countries were making a big mistake in providing support to the opposition fighting a bitter and bloody civil war against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Israel’s delegation walked out of Rohani’s speech in protest after the Iranian leader condemned the occupation of Palestinian territories, saying: “Apartheid as a concept can hardly describe the crimes and the institutionalised aggression against the innocent Palestinian people,” even though he avoided naming Israel directly.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-09-25

  • UNITED NATIONS

    Obama meeting with Rohani 'too complicated' for Iran

    Read more

  • UNITED NATIONS

    Obama extends olive branch to Iran in UN speech

    Read more

  • IRAN - DIPLOMACY

    Rohani to meet Hollande in Iran’s latest charm coup

    Read more

COMMENT(S)