United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

Journalists Criticize Rouhani in Letter

            In a letter to President Hassan Rouhani, 135 journalists held his administration accountable for not fulfilling his campaign promise to create a more secure working environment for the media. The signers wrote that “it is unethical, unprofessional and insulting to deny the fact that, today, many journalists remain in prison in Iran for doing their jobs.”
            The group wrote the letter in reaction to Rouhani’s response to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, who inquired about the detention of Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian in a recent interview. “I do not believe that an individual would be detained or put in prison for being a journalist,” the president told Amanpour. Rezaian, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, and his Iranian wife Yeganeh Salehi, a correspondent for the Emirates-based paper The National, were detained in late July. Salehi was released on bail during the first week of October but Rezaian remains in prison. The following is a translation of the letter by Iran Wire’s Maziar Bahari.

 
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran
 
Your Excellency, When you came to power in June 2013, you promised that you would create a more secure working environment for journalists and the media in our country.
 
Once again, in February 2014, you reminded the citizens of Iran of your election promises, stating that journalists should be entitled to greater security while doing their jobs. You said that shutting down a newspaper is not the right way to warn those who may have infringed on the law. 
 
We, the undersigned, expected you to take serious and practical measures to fulfill your promises.
 
Yet more than a year after resuming office, the demands and expectations of journalists have not been realized. In fact, in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, you denied that there was anyone in jail in Iran for their work as a journalist.
 
You were once critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration and its habit of concealing and denying the truth. Your recent denial that a problem even exists echoes this sentiment, and remind us of its impact.
 
We, the undersigned journalists, believe that it is unethical, unprofessional and insulting to deny the fact that, today, many journalists remain in prison in Iran for doing their jobs. In fact, a number of journalists have been imprisoned during your presidency.
 
In our country, security agents regularly imprison journalists, denying them their basic rights simply for carrying out their duty: to inform the public. As the head of the executive branch, and as the second highest official of the land, whose responsibility includes supervising the execution of the constitution by different branches of the government, it is your duty to improve the situation of Iranian journalists.
 
At the very least, we expect you to correct your false statement concerning imprisoned journalists in Iran. But we hope for more, and we ask you to fulfill your promises to create a more secure environment for journalists in our country.
 
Signatories:
- Aida Ghajar
-  Ahmad Rafat
- Alieh Motalebzadeh
- Ali Asghar Ramezanpour
- Ali Shirazi
- Ali Mazrouei
- Alireza Latifian
- Amirhossein Mossala
- Arash Bahmani
- Arash Ashourinia
- Arash Azizi
- Behdad Bordbar
- Behrouz Samadbeygi
- Bijan Farhoudi
- Darioush Memar
- Delbar Tavakoli
- Ehsan Mehrabi
- Elnaz Mohammadi
- Ershad Alijani
- Fatemeh Jamalpour
- Farshad Ghorbanpour
- Fereshte Ghazi
- Farshid Faryabi
- Farahmand Alipour
- Fariborz Soroush
- Farid Haeinejad
- Farideh Ghaeb
- Firouzeh Ramezanzadeh
- Hamid Eslami
- Hamidreza Ebrahimzadeh
- Hanif Mazrouei
- Homayoun Kheiri
- Hossein Alavi
- Javad Heidarian
- Isa Saharkhiz
- Kamyar Behrang
- Kaveh Ghoreishi
- Khatereh Vatankhah
- Ladan Salami
- Lida Ayaz
- Lida Hosseininejad
- Leila Sa'adati
- Leili Nikounazar
- Maziar Bahari
- Maziar Khosravi
- Mana Neyestani
- Mani Tehrani
- Mahrokh Gholamhosseinpour
- Mojtaba Najafi
- Majid Saeedi
- Mohammad Aghazadeh
- Mohammad Tangestani
- Mohammad Hossein Nejati
- Mohammad Rahbar
- Mohammad Ghadamali
- Mohammad Kassaeizadeh
- Mohammadreza Nassababdollahi
- Mahmoud Farjami
- Morteza Kazemian
- Marjan Tabatabaei
- Maryam Amiri
- Maryam Jafari
- Maryam Shahsamandi
- Maryam Majd
- Mazdak Alinazari
- Masoud Behnoud
- Masoud Safiri
- Masoud Kazemi
- Masoud Lavasani
- Mostafa Khalaji
- Maliheh Mohammadi
- Mansoureh Farahani
- Mahdi Tajik
- Mehdi Jami
- Mehdi Ghadimi
- Mehdi Mahmoudian
- Mehdi Vazirbani
- Mehdi Mohseni
- Mehran Faraji
- Mehraveh Kharazmi
- Mehrad Abolghassemi
- Mehrdad Hojati
- Mehrdad Mashayekhi
- Mitra Khalatbari
- Meisam Youssefi
- Milad Beheshti
- Minou Momeni
- Nazanin Kazemi
- Nazanin Matin'nia
- Nasrin Zahiri
- Naeimeh Doustdar
- Negin Behkam
- Noushabeh Amiri
- Noushin Pirouz
- Nikahang Kowsar
- Nima Dehghani
- Niousha Saremi
- Omid Montazeri
- Parvaneh Vahidmanesh
- Panah Farhadbahman
- Pourya Souri
- Reza Ansarirad
- Reza Haghighatnejad
- Reza Rafiei
- Reza Shokrollahi
- Rouzbeh Mirebrahimi
- Roya Maleki
- Reihaneh Mazaheri
- Sara Damavandan
- Saghi Laghaei
- Sam Mahmoudi Sarabi
- Sanaz Ghazizadeh
- Sepideh Behkam
- Sahar Bayati
- Soroush Farhadian
- Saeid Shams
- Saeideh Amin
- Soulmaz Eikder
- Siamak Ghaderi
- Seyyed Mojtaba Vahedi
- Sina Shahbaba
- Shabnam Shabani
- Shahram Rafizadeh
- Shahrzad Hemati
- Shohreh Asemi
- Shirzad Abdollahi
- Shirin Famili
- Shima Shahrabi
- Saba Sherdoust
- Sadra Mohaghegh
- Tahereh Rahimi
- Tara Bonyad
- Taraneh Baniyaghoub
- Touka Neyestani
- Youssef Azizi Banitorof
 
Click here for the letter in Farsi. 
 

Carter on Hostage Crisis 34 Years Later

            On October 1, former President Jimmy Carter told NBC that he could have been re-elected if he had taken military action against Iran or been able to rescue the American hostages in 1980. "I think I made the right decision in retrospect [to not attack Iran], but it was not easy at the time," he said.
           
In October 1979, Carter reluctantly allowed Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, then ill with lymphoma, to seek medical treatment in the United States. Mobs of students angry with Washington took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran November 4 and took the 52 American occupants hostage.
          
On the night of April 24-25, the United States mounted a complex rescue mission that ended in failure. A massive dust cloud caused mechanical problems in the helicopters involved and the mission was aborted. But on the way back, one helicopter clipped the wing of a transport aircraft and the both aircraft burst into flames, killing eight servicemen. Carter announced the failure in the morning on the radio, which was a blow to his administration.
           
The hostages were only freed 444 days after the embassy takeover, just as Ronald Reagan was sworn into office in January 1981. The revolutionary regime did not want to return the American hostages to the same president who gave sanctuary to the shah.
           
The following are excerpts from Carter’s recent interview with CNBC on the hostage crisis.

 
            I think I would have been re-elected easily if I had been able to rescue our hostages from the Iranians. And everybody asks me what would do more, I would say I would send one more helicopter because if I had one more helicopter we could have brought out not only the 52 hostages, but also brought out the rescue team, and when that failed, then I think that was the main factor that brought about my failure to be re-elected. So that's one thing I would change.
 
            Um, well I could've been re-elected if I'd taken military action against Iran, shown that I was strong and resolute and, um, manly and so forth. But, er, I think if I, I could have wiped Iran off the map with the weapons that we had, but in the process a lot of innocent people would have been killed, probably including the hostages and so I stood up against all that, er, all that advice, and then eventually my prayers were answered and every hostage came home safe and free. And so I think I made the right decision in retrospect, but it was not easy at the time (laughs).
 

Congress Warns Kerry on Nuclear Program

            On October 1, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Committee’s Ranking Member, along with 352 other House Members—including Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip Steve Scalise, and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer—sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry expressing serious concerns about Iran’s refusal to cooperate with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. The following is the full text of the letter.

 
Dear Mr. Secretary:
 
As the United States prepares for the resumption of negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran to achieve a comprehensive nuclear agreement, we remain deeply concerned with Iran’s refusal to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.  As you know, the IAEA has sought information on the “potential military dimensions” of the Iranian nuclear program, in particular information about Iran’s extensive research and development of a nuclear explosive device. 
 
For several years, the IAEA has attempted to work with Iran to resolve this central issue, but Tehran has refused.  Last November, the IAEA and Iran concluded a “Framework for Cooperation” in which Iran agreed to work with the IAEA, including by providing satisfactory information in response to IAEA inquiries within mutually agreed deadlines.  Nevertheless, in its September 5, 2014 report, the IAEA stated that Iran had failed to meet its latest deadline, even as it continued to demolish structures and construct others at the Parchin military base, where clandestine nuclear-related activities have reportedly taken place.
 
We believe that Iran’s willingness to fully reveal all aspects of its nuclear program is a fundamental test of Iran’s intention to uphold a comprehensive agreement.  As you wrote in the Washington Post earlier this summer, if Iran’s nuclear program is truly peaceful, “it’s not a hard proposition to prove.” The only reasonable conclusion for its stonewalling of international investigators is that Tehran does indeed have much to hide.
 
We are concerned that an agreement that accepts Iran’s lack of transparency on this key issue would set the dangerous precedent that certain facilities and aspects of Iran’s nuclear program can be declared off limits by Tehran, resulting in additional wide-ranging restrictions on IAEA inspectors, and making effective verification virtually impossible.
 
A resolution of this issue is also essential to establishing a baseline regarding the status of the Iranian nuclear program.  Accurate predictions of the period of time needed by Iran to assemble a weapon and assessments of Iran’s compliance cannot be made without highly reliable information obtained from an unrestricted inspection and verification regime.  Such a baseline is also critical to developing more precise estimates on the time it would take Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability without detection. 
 
We would like to achieve a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis.  As negotiations resume, we urge you to carefully monitor Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA’s inquiry.  As you have written, there is a “discrepancy…between Iran’s professed intent with respect to its nuclear program and the actual content of that program to date.”  We agree with your assessment that “these issues cannot be dismissed; they must be addressed by the Iranians if a comprehensive solution is to be reached.”  An agreement that effectively prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability demands transparency on the extensive research and development work that Iran has undertaken in the past.
 
 
Click here for a signed copy of the letter.  
 
Tags: Congress

Khamenei's Tweets on Ferguson

            Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has condemned the treatment of African Americans by police offers in Ferguson, Missouri, where an unarmed black teen was fatally shot by a white officer in August. More than a dozen postings, including two YouTube clips, on Khamenei’s official social media accounts have decried slavery and historic discrimination against African Americans in the United States. Some of the remarks have compared the violent clashes between protestors and police to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. The following are tweets from the supreme leader’s English-language account.

Rouhani at UN on ISIS, Nukes & US

         President Hassan Rouhani arrived in New York on September 22 to attend the U.N. General Assembly opening. He spoke at several public and private events before and after delivering his address on September 25. A translation of his speech is included below, followed by excerpted remarks from other appearances on key issues. 

      Thank God, the Lord of the Two Worlds and the Prayer and peace be upon our Prophet Mohammad and his family and companions at outset, I would like to extend my sincere congratulations on your well-deserved election as the president of the 69th Session of the General Assembly. I also express my appreciation to H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, for all his efforts. It is my genuine hope that this year's Session of the General Assembly brings the world, in its current critical situation, a step closer to security and tranquility of human being, which is of course a fundamental goal of the United Nations.
 
 
 
 
Mr. President,
            I am coming from a region of the world whose many parts are currently burning in fire of extremism and radicalism. To the East and West of my country, extremists threaten our neighbors, resort to violence and shed blood. They of course do not speak a single language; they are not of a single skin color and not of a single nationality; they have come to the Middle East from around the world. They do however have a single ideology: "violence and extremism". They also have a single goal: "the destruction of civilization, giving rise to Islamophobia and creating a fertile ground for further intervention of foreign forces in our region".
 
            I deeply regret to say that terrorism has become globalized: "From New York to Mosul, from Damascus to Baghdad, from the Easternmost to the Westernmost parts of the world, from Al-Qaeda to Daesh". The extremists of the world have found each other and have put out the call: "extremists of the world unite". But are we united against the extremists?!
 
            Extremism is not a regional issue that just the nations of our region would have to grapple with; extremism is a global issue. Certain states have helped creating it and are now failing to withstand it. Currently our peoples are paying the price. Today's anti-Westernism is the offspring of yesterday's colonialism. Today's anti-Westemism is a reaction to yesterday's racism. Certain intelligence agencies have put blades in the hand of madmen, who now spare no one. All those who have played a role in founding and supporting these terror groups must acknowledge their errors that have led to extremism. They need to apologize not only to the past but also to the next generation.
 
            To fight the underlying causes of terrorism, one must know its roots and dry its source fountains. Terrorism germinates in poverty, unemployment, discrimination, humiliation and injustice. And it grows in the culture of violence. To uproot extremism, we must spread justice and development and disallow the distortion of divine teachings to justify brutality and cruelty. The pain is made greater when these terrorists spill blood in the name of religion and behead in the name of Islam. They seek to keep hidden this incontrovertible truth of history that on the basis of the teachings of all divine prophets, from Abraham and Moses and Jesus to Mohammed, taking the life of a single innocent life is akin to killing the whole humanity. I am astonished that these murderous groups call themselves Islamic. What is more astonishing is that the Western media, in line with them, repeats this false claim, which provokes the hatred of all Muslims. Muslim people who everyday recall their God as merciful and compassionate and have learned lessons of kindness and empathy from their Prophet, see this defamation as part of a Islamophobic project.
 
 
            The strategic blunders of the West in the Middle-East, Central Asia, and the Caucuses have turned these parts of the world into a haven for terrorists and extremists. Military aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq and improper interference in the developments in Syria are clear examples of this erroneous strategic approach in the Middle East. As non-peaceful approach, aggression, and occupation target the lives and livelihoods of ordinary people, they result in different adverse psychological and behavioral consequences that are today manifested in the form of violence and murder in the Middle East and North Africa, even attracting some citizens from other parts of the world. Violence is currently being spread to other parts of the world like a contagious disease. We have always believed that democracy cannot be transplanted from abroad; democracy is the product of growth and development; not war and aggression.Democracy is not an export product that can be commercially imported from the West to the East. In an underdeveloped society, imported democracy leads only to a weak and vulnerable government.
 
            When Generals step into a region, do not expect diplomats to greet them warmly; when war begins, diplomacy tends to end. When sanctions set in, deep hatred for those imposing them also begins. When the atmosphere of the Middle East is securitized, the answer will be of the same nature as well.
 
            The interests of Western countries in our region are tied to their recognition of beliefs and the desire of the people for democratic governance in the region. Our region expects that the Western world would once and for all place itself in the company of those true seekers of democracy, and, hence, soften the bitter memories of its support for dictators. The experience of creation of A1-Qaeda, the Taliban, and modern extremist groups have demonstrated that one cannot use extremist groups to counter an opposing state and remain impervious to the consequences of rising extremism. The repetition of these mistakes despite many costly experiences is perplexing.
 
            Let's recall that Iran had invited everyone to "dialogue" before the criminal act of September 11th, and also called for "a world against violence and extremism" before the outbreak of the current violent atrocities. Perhaps in the past year, few people could forecast the fire that would rage today. But now uninhibited violence and extremism presents an imminent threat to the world. It is self-evident that without an accurate understanding of how the current condition came about we will not be able to find the right solutions. Today, again, I shall warn against the spread of extremism and the danger posed by the inadequate understanding and incorrect approach to this phenomenon.
 
            The Middle East longs for development and is weary of war. It is the natural right of the peoples of the fertile lands of the Middle East to live in peace and prosperity. In the past, colonialism denied them this right and, today, the shadow of war and violence threatens their security. There are moderate politicians and elites in our region who enjoy the confidence of their peoples. They are neither anti-Western nor pro-Western. While aware of the role of colonialism in the backwardness of their nations, they are not neglectful of the role of their nations in reaching the development they seek. They do not absolve the West from its misdeeds, but are also aware of their own failings. These leaders can take positions of active leadership by attracting the confidence of the people in their societies and establish the strongest national and international coalitions against violence.
 
            The voices of these leaders are the true voices of moderation in the Islamic world; the familiar sound of an Afghan tired of war; an Iraqi victim of extremism, a Syrian fearful of terrorism; and a Lebanese worried over violence and sectarianism. I believe if countries claiming leadership of the coalition, do so to continue their hegemony in the region, they would make a strategic mistake. Obviously, since the pain is better known by the countries in the region, better they can form coalition, and accept to shoulder the responsibility of leadership to counter violence and terrorism. And if other nations wish to take action against terrorism, they must come to their support.
 
            I warn that if we do not muster all our Strengths against extremism and violence today, and fail to entrust the job to the people in the region who can deliver, tomorrow the world will be safe for no one.
 
Mr. President,
 
            Last year, I tried to fulfill the role of my country in the realization of peace at both the regional and international levels by putting forward a proposal about, "a world against Violence and Extremism", which was met with general support. In the tumultuous and chaotic region of the Middle East, Iran is one of the most tranquil, secure and stable nations. All the nations of the region have to keep in mind that we are in the same boat. Thus, we need broad cooperation with regard to social and political as well as security and defense issues with a view to reaching common and durable understandings.
 
            Had we had greater cooperation and coordination in the Middle East, thousands of innocent Palestinians in Gaza would not have been fallen victim to Zionist regime's aggression. We in the Islamic Republic of Iran consider interaction and confidence building among states of the region as fundamentally essential for conflict resolution. We support any measure to promote cooperation between Islamic nations to combat extremism, threats, and aggression, and in this connection, are prepared to play our permanent constructive and positive role.
 
Mr. President,
 
            The oppressive sanctions against Iran go on in continuation of a strategic mistake against a moderate and independent nation under the current sensitive condition in our region. During the last year, we have engaged in the most transparent dialogue to build confidence regarding Iran's peaceful nuclear program. We placed serious and honest negotiations on the agenda, not as a result of sanctions or threat but rather because of the will of our people. We are of the view that the nuclear issue could only be resolved through negotiation, and those who may think of any other solution are committing a grave mistake. Any delay in arriving at a final agreement only raises the costs; not only at our expense but also at the expense of the economy and trade of the other parties as well as the development and security prospects of our region. No one should doubt that compromise and agreement on this issue is in the best interest of everyone especially that of the nations of the region.
 
            The nuclear negotiations between Iran and the 5+1 have continued during the past year with seriousness and optimism on both sides. According to all international observers, the Islamic Republic of Iran has carried out its commitments in good faith. Although, some of the observations and actions of our counterparts have created certain doubts regarding their determination and realism, we hope that the current negotiations lead to a final accord in the short amount of time left. We are committed to continue our peaceful nuclear program, including enrichment, and to enjoy our full nuclear rights on Iranian soil within the framework of international law. We are determined to continue negotiations with our interlocutors in earnest and good faith, based on mutual respect and confidence, removal of concerns of both sides as well as equal footing and recognized international norms and principles. I believe mutual adherence to the strict implementation of commitments and obligations and avoidance of excessive demands in the negotiations by our counterparts is the prerequisite for the success of the negotiations. A final accord regarding Iran's peaceful nuclear program can serve as the beginning of multilateral collaboration aimed at promoting security, peace and development in our region and beyond.
 
            The people of Iran, who have been subjected to pressures especially in the last three years as a result of continued sanctions, cannot place trust in any security cooperation between their government with those who have imposed sanctions and created obstacles in the way of satisfying even their primary needs such as food and medicine. The sanctions will create additional impediments in the way to the future long term cooperation.
 
            The people of Iran are devoted to certain principles and values at the apex of which are independence, development and national pride. Our people evaluate the behavior of their government based on the same criteria. If this obvious national fact is not understood by our negotiating partners and they commit grievous miscalculations in the process, a historic and exceptional opportunity will be lost.
 
            As you know, during the ongoing nuclear negotiations in this year, the Iranian government took some initiatives that created new favorable conditions, which resulted, at that phase, in the Geneva Joint Plan of Action. We are determined to continue our confidence building approach and our transparency in this process. If our interlocutors are also equally motivated and flexible, and we can overcome thÿ problem and reach a longstanding agreement within the time remaining, then an entirely different environment will emerge for cooperation at regional and international levels, allowing for greater focus on some very important regional issues such as combating violence and extremism in the region.
 
            Arriving at a final comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran will be a historic opportunity for the West to show that it does not oppose the advancement and development of others and does not discriminate when it comes to adhering to international rules and regulations. This agreement can carry a global message of peace and security, indicating that the way to attain conflict resolution is through negotiation and respect not through conflict and sanction.
 
Mr. President,
Ladies, Gentlemen,
 
            Last year the great nation of Iran broadly participated in the calm and impressive presidential election and endorsed the discourse of "Foresight, Hope, and Prudent Moderation." Thereafter, they support their elected government in its effort in building the country. While some of the countries around Iran have fallen prey to war and turmoil, Iran remains secure, stable and calm.
 
            My Government's principled policy is to work towards constructive interactions with our neighbors on the basis of mutual respect and with emphasis on common interests. The notion that Iran seeks to control other Muslim countries in the region is a myth fanned in the recent years in the context of an Iranophobic project. Those who make these claims need imaginary enemies to sustain tensions and sow division and conflict, thus, in this way, pushing for the redeployment of national resources away from development. We work towards putting an end to delusional Iranophobia, setting the stage for building strategic partnerships with our neighbors.
 
            In conclusion, last year I warned against the expansion of violence and extremism. This year too I warn that if the right approach is not undertaken in dealing with the issue at hand, we get closer to a turbulent and tumultuous region with repercussions for the whole world. The right solution to this quandary comes from within the region and regionally provided solution with international support and not from the outside the region.
 
            God, the Almighty has promised those who have believed and done righteous deeds that He will surely grant them succession to authority upon the earth and that their fears will turn into peace and security.
 
            It is my sincerest hope that our generation endeavors to leave a more secure and developed earth as its legacy for the next generation.
 
I wish you all success.
 
Thank you.
 
ISIS
 
            “Americans are very aware that the country that prevented the [Baghdad] government from falling was Iran. Iran’s role has been undeniable.”
            “Can countries [carry out this effort] without cooperation and coordination and succeed? Is a coalition needed? If so, who is best suited to lead? …Is it possible [to defeat extremism] without [addressing root causes and] without knowing the region very well?”
            “Countries in the region are much more qualified to lead [the anti-ISIS] efforts than those who are outside and don’t know the region as well.”
            “The Americans are free [to make their own] judgment, but people are aware that the strongest government that has taken the strongest fight against terrorism has been Iran.
            “Those who played a role in creating these terrorists … how can these same countries today say they want to fight these terrorists?”
            This policy is “clearly nebulous and ambiguous at best. I can assure you this will not succeed in the end. This is a very confusing behavior and policy.”
            “Bombarding a country has a legal process. It should take place within the framework of the U.N., or that country's leaders should have asked for it to be carried out officially and formally.”
            “[It’s not] legal, particularly without the authority of the government.”
            If “we want to bring an end to terrorist activities in Syria … you cannot reach that objective without a central government. First, we must drive out the terrorists.”
            Sept. 23, 2014 at a breakfast meeting with journalists (via Lobe Log, AP, Reuters, Bloomberg, and Al-Monitor)
            Sept. 24, 2014 at a New America Foundation event 

 
            Airstrikes against ISIS are a “psychological operation,” not a military one.
            “It is a common threat for all of us. And this requires a unison effort from all of us. We need a vast campaign of operations ... the aerial bombardment campaign is mostly, I would say, a form of theater, rather than a serious battle against terrorism.”
            I would like to distance myself “from the word 'coalition' because some countries haven't come together under the umbrella of this coalition.”
            Sept. 25, 2014 in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour 
 
Nuclear Deal
 
            “I do believe we can reach an agreement in the next two months.”
            “The talks occurring [this week] will clear many things, whether we will be able to reach a final agreement or not. I believe both sides have reached the conclusion that the continuation of the current condition doesn't benefit anyone... So why not make strides to reach this agreement?”
            “After the dust settled [after the interim nuclear agreement was brokered], we [Iranians] never saw any thorns, only roses on that path [referring to domestic opposition].”
            “The differences are not so difficult as to be unresolvable, but not so simple to be resolved in a few meetings.”
“A final resolution is to the betterment of the region ... and the world at large.”
Both sides agree that the “continuation of the current agreement doesn’t benefit anyone.”
            “Without a doubt, reaching a final nuclear deal will expand our cooperation, and we can cooperate in various fields including restoring regional peace and stability and fighting against terrorism.”
            U.S-Iran relations “will be completely different [if a deal is reached].”
             “If there [is] no final agreement, there will perhaps be another way to go. For now, everything is based, God willing, on reaching an accord. [But failure to meet the deadline] doesn’t mean we will go back to the way things were before.”
            Sept. 23, 2014 at a breakfast meeting with journalists (via Lobe Log, AP, Reuters, Bloomberg, and Al-Monitor)
 
 
            Sept. 24, 2014 at a New America Foundation event 
 
            That interim deal, “concrete proof that talks and negotiations succeed. We must all accept that there is only one way and that's the way of dialogue and talks and negotiations. This means that sanctions are an inappropriate tool. That means that threats are the wrong path.
            “I do think that if the agreement is reached, it can immediately cease and melt away -- take away these [U.S.] sanctions.”
            Sept. 25, 2014 in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour
 
Regional Policy
 
            “Our relationship with Saudi Arabia ... deserves to be warmer. Saudi Arabia's positions are getting closer and closer to us.”
            “Within the next few months, I believe our relations will grow warmer.
            “Saudi Arabia is an important country in our region, and we believe that the relationships between [Iran and the Gulf] countries must be very dignified and very strong.”
            Sept. 23, 2014 at a breakfast meeting with journalists (via Lobe Log, AP, Reuters, Bloomberg, Al-Monitor)
 
Economy
 
            Iran has “delegations from Italy and France talking about considerable investments in rail and petrochemical industries.”
            Sept. 23, 2014 at a breakfast meeting with journalists (via Lobe Log, AP, Reuters, Bloomberg, and Al-Monitor)
 
Jason Rezaian – Correspondent for The Washington Post
(a dual citizen of Iran and the United States reportedly detained in Iran since July)
 
            “We never wish for any individuals, Iranian or non-Iranians, be it in Iran or in other countries, to be imprisoned or detained or be put on trial. If they do go to trial, the trial will be fairly executed for them to have access to every legal defense allowed under the law, proper defensive representation through qualified attorneys, and we do hope that their families can gain the certainty that fairness and justice will be employed towards the cases and case files of their loved ones.
             “I do not believe that an individual would be detained or put in prison for being a journalist. An individual can be a reporter, a journalist, and have committed a crime. But that crime is not necessarily always related to their profession, to the profession that they're practicing.
             “My personal opinion is, and I've announced it several times when I've spoken on different occasions, we believe that the general behavior towards reporters and journalists and those who carry the heavy weight of informing our citizenry, must be quite flexible.
            “The truth of the matter is that I cannot have the time nor the inclination nor access to every single case file. But what I must... be assured of as the chief executive of my branch is that the constitution and the laws and the civil rights are being respected to the letter.”
            Sept. 25, 2014 in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour 
 
            “I’m not the judge of an individual being questioned by the judiciary.”
I am “hopeful and optimistic that the judiciary process will complete itself in a transparent and fair manner.”
            Sept. 23, 2014 at a breakfast meeting with journalists (via Lobe Log, AP, Reuters, Bloomberg, and Al-Monitor)

 

             “We must not prematurely express opinions about a case that hasn't reached the court yet.”
             Sept. 24, 2014 at a New America Foundation event

 
Syria
 
            “The army of that country [Syria] was carrying out a battle against the terrorists. They kept saying that these are opposition members and we will keep asking who are these opposition members who have preferred to take up arms so swiftly and so savagely and violent, reasons rather than resorting to talks and negotiations?”
            “If the army of the Syrian people, the Syrian government, had not stood up and fought against terrorism, who do you think would have been the victor today? Let's assume no one would have rendered assistance. The victor would have been the same people that everyone is recognizing as terrorists today.”
             Sept. 25, 2014 in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour 
 
Internet Freedom
 
            “It is correct we have not yet reached a point in which we feel completely comfortable in what our people intended during the elections and voted for. But our people realize that we have taken steps forward. And our people are fully aware that in such matters, we must have a coordination with other branches of the government -- with the judiciary, with the parliament, with the legislatures.
            “What is important to keep in mind is that we've had sustainable movement forward throughout the past 12-plus months.”
            Sept. 25, 2014 in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour 
 
Climate Change
 
            “The rise in the temperature and its negative impact on rain precipitation in the Middle East, the chronic drought and water scarcity has led to an increase in poverty and the occurrence of instability and tensions in the border areas.”
            Sept. 23, 2014 in an address to the United Nations on climate change
 

The following is a video recording of Rouhani speaking at the New America Foundation on September 24. 

 

Photo credit: Robin Wright

 

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