Rouhani: World Reacts to Election

June 15, 2013

            World leaders issued diverse reactions to the stunning election of Hassan Rouhani to Iran’s presidency. Governments from Europe to Israel and Russia hoped that his election would mark a turning point in stabilizing the region. Some leaders renewed their willingness to work with Iran to find a diplomatic solution to the controversial nuclear issue. The following are excerpted statements and remarks arranged by country.

The European Union
High Representative Lady Catherine Ashton
            “I remain firmly committed to working with the new Iranian leadership toward a swift diplomatic solution of the nuclear issue.” In a June 15 statement
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius           
            “The expectations of the international community with regard to Iran are significant, especially about its nuclear program and its involvement in Syria…. We are ready to work on them with the new president.” In a June 15 statement
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle
            “I trust that he will exercise his responsibility with the sense of prudence and hope, which he had promised in his campaign. We will be particularly looking to see whether there will be change in Iran on the internal and international fronts after the election. It is also important and necessary that Iran complies with its obligations to respect human rights and endeavors to play a constructive role in the region.” In a June 16 statement
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
            “Let us not delude ourselves. The international community must not become caught up in wishes and be tempted to relax the pressure on Iran to stop its nuclear program. It must be remembered that the Iranian ruler, at the outset, disqualified candidates who did not fit his extremist outlook...’” At a June 16 cabinet meeting
President Shimon Peres
            Rouhani “said he will not go for these extreme policies. I am not sure specified his policies. But it will be better, I am sure, and that is why the people voted for him… It [the result] surprised all the experts and all the prophets, and this is really intriguing. Why? Because apparently there are hidden forces and strengths that were unseen or underestimated.” In June 15 remarks to Reuters
Foreign Minister Emma Bonino
            “Italy trusts that, with the new government of Iranian President Rowhani, it will be possible to work at developing bilateral relations and begin without delay a season of renewed comprehension and constructive dialogue between Iran and the international community.” In a June 15 statement
Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri
            “In the name of the Lebanese parliament and mine, we offer you our warmest congratulations for the precious popular trust granted to you by the dear Iranian people.”
Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah
            “As this political epic, by your blessed election, revived hopes of the dear Iranian people towards all their aspirations, it also renewed the great hopes of all your friends, lovers and brothers of the Arab, Muslim and oppressed peoples who see that you are today the focus of hopes, and who have always found the Islamic Republic the savior for every tyrannized, the relief for every oppressed and the mainstay for every resistant and mujahid [fighter] for Allah’s sake.”
Office of President Vladimir Putin
            Rouhani’s work “will contribute to the prosperity of friendly Iran and further strengthening of Russian-Iranian relations. The Russian president also confirmed readiness for consistent development of mutually advantageous cooperation with Iran in very diverse fields in the interests of ensuring regional security and international stability.” In a June 16 statement
Saudi Arabia
King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz
            “We are glad to congratulate you in the name of the people and government of Saudi Arabia … wishing greater progress and prosperity for the people of the brotherly Islamic Republic of Iran.” In a June 15 statement
President Bashar Assad
            Syria is determined to "bolster friendly relations and upgrade cooperation" especially in "confronting the plots of hegemony and aggression against the national sovereignty in our region in a way that reflects positively on the peoples of both friendly countries as well as the peoples of the region and the whole world."
The United Arab Emirates
President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan
            “We look forward to working together for the good of this region and the Emirati and Iranian peoples. We are keen to forge relations based on cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran.” In a June 17 telegram
The United Kingdom
Prime Minister David Cameron
            “I've always believed that the right approach on Iran is to engage, to make a clear offer to the Iranians that there is a different path for them. If they don't go down the path of nuclear weapons, then they can become a full part of the international community. Obviously, we will have to see how the new Iranian government reacts to that, but Britain will stand with America and others in continuing to make that offer.” In June 17 remarks to the press
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
            “We call on him to use the opportunity to set Iran on a different course for the future: addressing international concerns about Iran's nuclear program, taking forward a constructive relationship with the international community, and improving the political and human rights situation for the people of Iran.” In a June 15 statement
The United Nations
Office of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
            “The Secretary General has been closely following the eleventh presidential election in Iran held on 14 June and notes with satisfaction the reported high turnout.  He extends his warm congratulations to Mr. Hasan Rowhani, the confirmed winner.
            “The Secretary-General intends to remain engaged with the Iranian authorities and with the President-elect on issues of importance to the international community and the welfare of the Iranian people.  He will continue encouraging Iran to play a constructive role in regional and international affairs.” In a June 15 statement