Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that the ice was already “beginning to break” between his country and the West. This despite the fact that there has been no meeting, no hand-shake, not even a polite nod in passing between himself and President Barack Obama in the UN halls in New York City.
White House officials confirmed on Tuesday that no meeting would take place, indicating that meeting would be “too complicated” for the Iranian when he goes back home.
Rouhani addressed the UN General Assembly for the first time on Tuesday afternoon, and then sounded conciliatory in a CNN interview. He said there had been “some talks” to arrange a meeting to give himself and Obama an opportunity to “talk with each other” but there was not sufficient time to coordinate such a meeting.
There you go, it wasn’t obedience to the ayatollah back home, it was just bad timing.
Asked whether he has been “authorized” by the Iranian supreme leader to improve ties with the West, Rouhani said he has the authority to do what he wants, according to national interests.
The supreme leader, he said, is not opposed to negotiations if they are necessary for the national interests of Iran.
“But speaking of the ice-breaking you mentioned, it’s already beginning to break because the environment is changing. And that has come about as a result of the will of the people of Iran to create a new era of the relations between Iran and the rest of the world,” Rouhani told CNN.
While the centrifuges keep on churning and while Iran is putting together warheads. A brave, new era, indeed.
When the CNN host asked him to deliver a message directly to the U.S. public, Rouhani said in English, “I would like to say to American people: I bring peace and friendship from Iranians to Americans.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed President Obama’s call for Iran’s recent “conciliatory words” to be “matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable.”
A JTA report suggested that Netanyahu’s insistence on dismantling any Iranian nuclear capacity as a condition for stopping the boycott against it could signal a major difference with the Obama administration as the U.S. engagement with Iran advances.