Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday and called for a unified approach to stop “terrorism” and “extremism” in the Middle East and nearby regions.
Rouhani also addressed the ongoing negotiations over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. He said continued talks would be the only way to resolve the issue and posed a “historic opporunity” for the West. At the same time, he warned those who might want to stop Iran from expanding its nuclear program with “sanctions” or “conflict” that they would be making a “grave mistake.”
“Extremism is a global issue,” Rouhani said through a translator.
He stressed terrorists come to the Middle East and nearby regions from “around the world.” Rouhani, whose country has a religious Islamic government, also argued jihadist groups and other self-described Muslim extremist organisations do not represent the religion.
“I am astonished that these murderous groups call themselves Islamic,” said Rouhani, adding, “The Western media repeats this false claim.”
Rouhani blamed the rise of terrorism in the Middle East and nearby regions on Western “colonialism,” “racism,” and “strategic blunders” such as the foreign military intervention in Afghanistan led by the United States.
“Today’s anti-Westernism is the offspring of yesterday’s colonialism,” he said. “Today’s anti-Westernism is a reaction to yesterday’s racism.”
He also warned further mistakes by the West could exacerbate the situation.
Rouhani also referred to the ongoing negotiations over what he described as Iran’s “peaceful nuclear program.” He said Iran agreed to participate in the negotiations out of a desire for cooperation and “not as a result of sanctions or threats.”
The Iranian president went on to say it would carry a “global message of peace” if the West came to an agreement with Iran over its desire to expand its nuclear program and could lead to an increased focus on addressing the fight against terrorism. He also argued negotiations would be the only way to resolve the issue rather than “sanctions” or “conflict.”
“Those would think of any other solution would be committing a grave mistake in doing so,” he said.
Rouhani ended his speech moments ago and this post is being updated with further details from his remarks.
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