Iran’s president preaches against Middle East violence

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the U.N. (AP Photo)

In a much-anticipated appearance, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said during a speech at the United Nations in New York on Tuesday, Sept. 24 that his nation will agree to be open for negotiations regarding the highly-disputed nuclear weapon program, according to The Associated Press.

Rouhani’s speech was geared toward minimizing violence in the Middle East and resolving three decades of estrangement in hopes that “we can arrive at a framework to manage our differences,” The New York Times reported.

He also insisted that Iran would not make use of nuclear weapons but did not touch on a plan to reach a compromise on the nuclear dispute, according to The New York Times.

“We believe there are no violent solutions to world crises,” Rouhani said in his speech, offering a glimpse of hope to those in fear of previous long-term disagreements with Iran.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, is cautious of Rouhani’s words.

“Israel would welcome a genuine diplomatic solution that truly dismantles Iran’s capacity to develop nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told The New York Times. However, he is not convinced.

“We will not be fooled by half-measures that merely provide a smoke screen for Iran’s continual pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told The New York Times hours before Rouhani’s speech. “And the world should not be fooled, either.”

“(Netanyahu) has to try and find the right balance between being cautious and warning the world that it should not fall for any of these ruses, but at the same time to be seen to give it a chance and to welcome it if it happens,” former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dan Gillerman told The New York Times.

With Rouhani expressing disfavor of continued violence in the Middle East, it is easy to feel a sense of hope that the nation of Iran, which commonly makes national headlines regarding violent interactions and the fear of nuclear weapons, will be less of a concern in the future.

However, it is tough to say how comfortable one can feel with Rouhani’s words due to his skeptical neglect of a proposal on nuclear negotiations. As Netanyahu advocates, actions speak louder than words, and we cannot fall back in comfort on “half-measures.”