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A Review of President Hassan Rouhani's Speech to the United Nations General Assembly

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From Hassan Rouhani Speech at United Nations
Hassan Rouhani Speech at United Nations by YouTube

The United States has chosen for decades to close their collective ears to the words of the leaders of Iran. George W. Bush refused to negotiate with terrorists; he refused to dialogue and diplomacy. He shut his ear to Iran, and to other nations, on the premise that any communication would elevate the status of those nations in the world.

It may have been surprising to many that our current president, Barack Obama, in a non-typical gesture, allowed the American delegation to walk out on the occasion of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech to the United Nations last year. Pundits had supposed he would be belligerent and threatening; in fact he was wise, thoughtful, and revealing in his words. The American delegation had to read the news coverage, to appreciate the speaking of Ahmadinejad.

As Ahmadinejad's term of office came to an end, as Iranian law allows, his successor H. E. Dr. Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, took the global stage. Rouhani, aware that the Iranian people were frightened of the prospect of war, and weary of sanctions placed by the world powers, took a stance that would end their fear and restraints, and by doing so, won a democratic election.

Now the world wonders at the sincerity of Iran as that nation undertakes to work with the nations of the world, and end the threats to Palestine, and the threat of a nuclear powered nation in that unstable region.

In his initial address to the Sixty-eight Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Rouhani spoke to the subject of propaganda; the preponderance of threats to global peace, made by his predecessor, that were designed we might believe to capture the emotion of the Iranian people, but not to be accepted as dogmatic policy by the rest of the world. At the same time he stresses that nation leaders have an inherent right to defend their regimes, and to, within limits, operate their areas of domination as needs require.

The impact of violent and extremist narratives should not - in fact, must not - be underestimated. In this context, the strategic violence, which is manifested in the efforts to deprive regional players from their natural domain of action, containment policies, regime change from outside, and the efforts towards redrawing of political borders and frontiers, is extremely dangerous and provocative.


In his speaking, Rouhani referred to the ongoing and, in his words, archaic, policies of some to resort to threats, and militarism to maintain superiority.

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A few actors still tend to rely on archaic and deeply ineffective ways and means to preserve their old superiority and domination. Militarism and the recourse to violent and military means to subjugate others are failed examples of the perpetuation of old ways in new circumstances.


The new Iranian president went on to a main thrust of his address; the human tenancy to fear the unknown, and those things we don't understand. He included the perceived fear the world has on Iran and it's nuclear policies.

Propagandistic and unfounded faith-phobic, Islamo-phobic,  Shia-phobic,and Iran-phobic discourses do indeed represent serious threats against world peace and human security. This propagandistic discourse has assumed dangerous proportions through portrayal and inculcation of presumed imaginary threats. One such imaginary threat is the so-called "Iranian threat" -which has been employed as an excuse to justify a long catalog of crimes and catastrophic practices over the past three decades.

 Let me say this in all sincerity before this august world assembly, that based on irrefutable evidence, those who harp on the so-called threat of Iran are either a threat against international peace and security themselves or promote such a threat. Iran poses absolutely no threat to the world or the region. In Fact, in ideals as well as in actual practice, my country has been a harbinger of just peace and comprehensive security.


Now eloquent, he discussed the world today in terms of fear, and of hope. He made reference to extremism.

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Our world today is replete with fear and hope; fear of war and hostile regional and global relations; fear of deadly confrontation of religious, ethnic and national identities; fear of institutionalization of violence and extremism; fear of poverty and destructive discrimination; fear of decay and destruction of life-sustaining resources; fear of disregard for human dignity and rights; and fear of neglect of morality. Alongside these fears, however, there are new hopes; the hope of universal acceptance by the people and the elite all across the globe of "yes to peace and no to war"; and the hope of preference of dialogue over conflict, and moderation over extremism.


Rouhani touched briefly on his interpretation of the conflicts in the holy shrine-rich areas of Israel/Palestine.

What has been - and continues to be - practiced against the innocent people of Palestine is nothing less than structural violence. Palestine is under occupation; the basic rights of the Palestinians are tragically violated, and they are deprived of the right of return and access to their homes, birthplace and homeland. Apartheid as a concept can hardly describe the crimes and the institutionalized aggression against the innocent Palestinian people.


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John Lake, born in Chicago, has worked in radio, motion pictures, and in the theater. His early anti-invasion of Iraq speeches were carried on major networks. Today's world needs honesty, integrity, and wisdom.

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The Bush administration refused to have dialog wit... by John Lake on Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013 at 9:02:34 AM
The political leaders of the West are getting thei... by Wil Masisak on Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013 at 11:09:13 AM
Let us not forget that it is indisputable that the... by S. Juniper on Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013 at 11:35:58 AM
Great article, great talk, and totally believable.... by Daniel Geery on Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013 at 11:59:42 AM
Thank you!... by Meryl Ann Butler on Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013 at 4:01:56 PM
Thank you for your comments. All comments are read... by John Lake on Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013 at 7:32:22 PM
Title: Overthrow of the Iranian Government in 195... by Anton Grambihler on Thursday, Sep 26, 2013 at 4:16:07 AM
Bush refused to listen to Ahmadinejad. Obama allow... by John Lake on Friday, Sep 27, 2013 at 11:20:46 AM