New Iranian President: Pursuing Nuclear Program, Not Nuclear Weapons, Instability Israel's Fault

Interviewed by NBC News ahead of trip to New York for the UN


nbc in tehran, with wardrobe
NBC News

Iran's recently new president, Hassan Rouhani, may be a moderate compared to his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and has certainly taken a more conciliatory stance toward the United States, in contrast to Ahmadinejad's confrontational and often hostile tone. In an interview with NBC News, Rouhani insisted he had "complete authority" to negotiate with other countries about Iran's nuclear program, even though Iran's constitution gives him little power over foreign policy. Instead, it lies with Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, whose own favorite for president, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator for the last six years, lost this June's election.

The new president has, however, taken the same old Iranian line on Israel. Via Haaretz:

Iranian President Hassan Rohani, in a television interview, said his country is not seeking war but harshly criticized Israel for bringing "instability" to the Middle East and for questioning his government's intentions toward nuclear arms…

Rohani called Israel "an occupier, a usurper government that does injustice to the people of the region" and said it "has brought instability to the region with its war-mongering policies."

But when asked further about Israel, Rohani also said: "What we wish for in this region is rule by the will of the people. We believe in the ballot box. We do not seek war with any country. We seek peace and friendship among the nations of the region."

Tellingly, Rouhani also declined to agree or disagree with his predecessor's claim that the Holocaust was a mix, saying he was not a historian. Neither are most people, but they still know Ahmadinejad's claim was delusional. The reference to the "will of the people," meanwhile, alludes to Iran's "one-state solution" stance toward Israel, which would see the Israeli state abolished. When it comes to Israel, then, Iran's foreign policy remains as interventionist as ever despite the adjustment in rhetoric.

The entire raw interview doesn't appear to be available online, but here's an NBC Nightly News segment:

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  1. You know who else has a problem with the Jews?

    1. The Romans?

      1. They did, until they didn’t. People often forget that the Romans successfully subjugated the Jews.

        It bugs me when I read books like Masada and find myself rooting for the Romans, knowing full well that I don’t really favor them and their imperialist oppression. But it’s a constant fight for a libertarian classicist. “Must. . .stop. . .favoring. . .the. . .oppressor.” I even do it with the Germanic tribes, and I’m friggin’ descended from them.

      2. TRICK QUESTION. It was present tense, so the answer was Hitler’s brain, currently residing in the body of a great white shark.

        1. That’s nonsense, as I happen to know that the Brazilians have Hitler’s brain in a giant robot. That’s why they’re shutting down access to the Internet, so no one will know about it until it’s too late.

          Yes, the giant robot is the Cristo Redentor. It’s a horrible perversion, but what do you expect from the disembodied brain of Hitler?

        2. Curse you Fist. You have probably seen the last of me due to work.

  2. If I ran Iran, I’d dump the nuke program altogether and go instead with orbital lasers and particle accelerators.

  3. All that hate’s gonna burn you up, Iran.

  4. Wow. That’s just ridiculous. Israel is not responsible for instability in in the middle east. The people responsible for the instability are those whiners whose land was taken from them and their friends (which just happens to include every other country in the region). Luckily, Israel just happens to be an island of stability in a very chaotic region of the world and the sooner those other countries face that fact, the sooner Israel and the U.S. can stop bombing their asses.

  5. The people responsible for the instability are those whiners whose land was taken from them…

    I don’t hear Jordan and Egypt whine very much, if at all. Syria did for a while, but they’re a bit busy at the moment with some other issues,

    1. I think the U.S. is paying them not to whine. Otherwise they’d be whining.

  6. his predecessor’s claim that the Holocaust was a mix

    But can you dance to it?

  7. Why is Curry wearing a headscarf? Has she gone completely native?

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