On September 21, President Hassan Rouhani called for a political solution to the Syrian civil war in an interview with NBC News’ Chuck Todd. “The rule of the ballot box and the rule of the Syrian people and the will of the Syrian people should be the sole determinant of the future of the country,” Rouhani said. Rouhani rejected U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s demand that Syria and Russia ground all aircraft in northern Syria following the bombing of a humanitarian convoy. Washington blamed Moscow for the attack. ISIS and the Nusra Front “must keep under pressure,” Rouhani said. “If we ground planes it would 100 percent benefit them.” The president arrived in New York City on September 19 to attend the U.N. General Assembly opening.
On the nuclear deal, Rouhani said the agreement could be model for solving other conflicts through dialogue and diplomacy. He said Iran and the world’s six major powers must do all they can to ensure the deal’s success. Failure would be a “defeat for all sides” involved, including the international community, Rouhani warned.
Todd asked Rouhani if he thought Iran could have a relationship with the next U.S. president that is similar to the one he has had with President Obama. Rouhani said it would depend on U.S. policies. The United States will receive an “appropriate response” if it ends its animosity towards Iran and starts respecting it.