Reasserting his country's right to peaceful nuclear enrichment, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani proposed immediate "time-bound" talks to resolve the nuclear issue. Addressing the 68th General Assembly of the United Nations on Tuesday, President Rouhani said, he had listened carefully to the statement made by President Obama [made earlier at the General Assembly]. He hoped that the U.S. will refrain from following the short-sighted interest of war-mongering and that both countries can arrive at a framework to manage their differences in the interest of peace.
UN Photo/Sarah Fretwell “Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran's security and defence doctrine, and contradict our fundamental religious and ethical convictions,” the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the 68th General Assembly of the United Nations on Tuesday
On the question of pursuing the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the Iranian President asserted, "I declare here, openly and unambiguously, that, notwithstanding the positions of others, this has been, and will always be, the objective of the Islamic Republic of Iran."
President Rohani did not fail analysts who were looking for Iran to demonstrate a temperate position on its nuclear question. However, he also used the opportunity to take a dig at what he called US short-sighted interest of war-mongering pressure groups and criticised those who spoke of military option being on the table. He deplored terrorism, however, also criticised use of drones against innocent people in the name of combating terrorism. On the Palestine issue, the root of Arab-Israel conflict, President Rohani, deplored the "brutal repression" of the Palestinian people, calling it structural violence.
But the main focus of his address to the General Assembly was to assert Iran's right to nuclear technology, including enrichment.
"I listened carefully to the statement made by President Obama today at the General Assembly. Commensurate with the political will of the leadership in the United States and hoping that they will refrain from following the short-sighted interest of warmongering pressure groups, we can arrive at a framework to manage our differences," President Rouhani told the world audience.
The U.S. President, who spoke earlier, had told the General Assembly that he was directing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, to pursue a diplomatic course with Iran on the nuclear issue in close cooperation with the European Union, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China.
"Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran's security and defence doctrine, and contradict our fundamental religious and ethical convictions," the President Rohani pointed out.
"Our national interests make it imperative that we remove any and all reasonable concerns about Iran's peaceful nuclear programme," he told the General Assembly.
However, the Iranian President asserted that his country had the right to enrichment inside Iran and enjoyment of other related nuclear rights which must be accepted and respected.
He pointed out that his country's nuclear technology, including enrichment, has already reached industrial scale.
"In this context, the Islamic Republic of Iran, insisting on the implementation of its rights and the imperative of international respect and cooperation in this exercise, is prepared to engage immediately in time-bound and result-oriented talks to build mutual confidence and removal of mutual uncertainties with full transparency," the Iranian President said.
In his address, the Iranian President was critical of those who speak of a military option being on the table.
Stressing that his own recent election represents "a clear, living example of the wise choice of hope, rationality and moderation" by the Iranian people, President Rouhani condemned coercive economic and military policies and practices geared to the preservation of old superiorities, and dismissed as the imaginary so-called "Iranian threat.'
"Iran poses absolutely no threat to the world or the region," he declared.
Adding that, "In fact, in ideals as well as in actual practice, my country [Iran] has been a harbinger of just peace and comprehensive security."
Iran seeks constructive engagement with other countries based on mutual respect and common interest, and within the same framework does not seek to increase tensions with the United States, the Iranian President pointed out.
Although Iran has insisted that its nuclear programme is solely geared to the peaceful production of energy, the country's programme has been an international concern ever since the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in 2003 that it had committed numerous breaches of its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) safeguards agreement. These concerns relate to the entire spectrum of the nuclear fuel cycle including experiments in enriching uranium and separating plutonium - potential ingredients for nuclear weapons.
Addressing the root cause of Arab-Israel conflict in the Middle-East, President Rouhani, deplored the "brutal repression" of the Palestinian people, calling it 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," he said.
"Apartheid as a concept can hardly describe the crimes and the institutionalized aggression against the innocent Palestinian people."
Dealing with the "human tragedy" of Syria, he said there is no military solution to the crisis. He called for a quick end to the killing of innocent people and condemned the use of chemical weapons. He also welcomed Syria's acceptance of the Chemical Weapons Convention banning the production and use of chemical weapons.
Touching upon terrorism, he termed the killing of innocent people as "the ultimate inhumanity of extremism and violence."
"Terrorism is a violent scourge and knows no country or national borders. But, the violence and extreme actions such as the use of drones against innocent people in the name of combating terrorism should also be condemned," he said.
Rouhani concluded his statement with a message of hope.
"Notwithstanding all difficulties and challenges, I am deeply optimistic about the future," he declared.
"I have no doubt that the future will be bright with the entire world solidly rejecting violence and extremism."
"Prudent moderation will ensure a bright future for the world. My hope, aside from personal and national experience, emanates from the belief shared by all divine religions that a good and bright future awaits the world," the Iranian President said.
“Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran's security and defence doctrine, and contradict our fundamental religious and ethical convictions,” the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the 68th General Assembly of the United Nations on Tuesday