Elected earlier this year, new Iran president Hassan Rouhani is supposedly more modern, moderate, and open to reason with the United States. He’s made some statements that he hopes to resolve Iran’s rift with the West, and, while some think it’s just another stalling tactic, it has many U.S. officials optimistic.
Rouhani is planning on making his first major address to the United Nations later this month, but first, NBCnews Ann Curry scored the new president’s first interview with a Western journalist. NBC has yet to release the full interview, but we broke down the Today Show and NBCNightlyNews segments here:
From the Today Show video:
(1:20) On nuclear weapons:
Rouhani: We have clearly stated that we are not going to pursue nuclear weapons and will not be.
(1:38) On whether, like his predecessor Ahmadinejad, he thinks the Holocaust is a myth:
Rouhani: I’m not a historian, I’m a politician.
(1:59) On whether he wants to wipe Israel off the map:
Rouhani: What we wish for in this region is rule by the will of the people. We believe in the ballot box. We do not seek war with any country. We seek peace and friendship among the nations of the region.
(2:36) On repression and censorship:
Rouhani: We want the people in their private lives to be completely free and, in today’s world, access to information and the right of free dialog and the right to think freely is the right of all peoples, including the people of Iran.
From the NBCNightlyNews video:
(2:13) On whether Rouhani has the power, from Iran’s supreme leader, to negotiate on nukes:
Rouhani: In its nuclear program, this government enters with full power and has complete authority … The problem won’t be from our side. We have sufficient political latitude to solve this problem.
As for those reports that Obama and Rouhani are now penpals, according to Ann Curry, they’re true.
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