September 25, 2013 | Quote

Familiar Criticisms and Grievances from Iran’s New President

Hours after snubbing President Obama by declining an informal “encounter” on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Iran’s “moderate” new president in his first speech to the world body said Tuesday that those who claim Iran poses a threat are themselves a threat to international peace and security.

President Hasan Rouhani said he had listened carefully to a speech delivered earlier by Obama and expressed the hope that the U.S. “will refrain from following the short-sighted interest of warmongering pressure groups,” to allow the U.S. and Iran to “arrive at a framework to manage our differences.”

In his speech, Obama had said while he did not believe the difficult history between the two nations could be “overcome overnight,” if the nuclear dispute could be resolved “that can serve as a major step down a long road towards a different relationship, one based on mutual interests and mutual respect.”

Successive U.S. administrations have named Iran the world’s most active state sponsor of terrorism, a record which the State Department says has in fact worsened in recent years.

“Rouhani’s choice not to acknowledge Iran’s role in regional violence is chipping away at the persona he’s crafted these last few months,” Foundation for Defense of Democracies vice-president for research Jonathan Schanzer commented on Twitter during the speech.

“I’m struck by Rowhani’s return to the same old grievances & conspiracies while ignoring Iran’s violence & terror,” he added later.

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