The Interview That Should Give You Hope For U.S.-Iran Relations


In an interview with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani on NBC, the newly elected leader's tone shifted away from the antagonistic style of former president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. Rouhani shared a conciliatory message by pledging that he doesn't want war and desires to engage in open talks with President Obama. Rouhani's overall message in the interview is consistent with the overtures he has made in the months since being elected to the presidency in June.

The only similarity between Rouhani and his predecessor is his enmity towards the Israeli  government. Rouhani's display of such resentment, however, is more demure. Responding to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remark that Rouhani was nothing more than "a wolf in sheep's clothing," Rouhani hit back, claiming that the Israeli government "does injustice to the people of the region, and has brought instability to the region, with its warmongering policies."

On the nuclear front, Rouhani pledged that Iran has no intention of developing nuclear weapons, and said that he has "complete authority" to complete any deal, assuaging concerns that he must get approval from Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The supreme leader noted on Tuesday that flexibility is necessary for any progress to be made, a rare conceit. Rouhani also praised a letter he had received from Obama regarding the issue, calling it "positive and constructive."

On other issues, Rouhani offered hints that Iran would be willing to open itself up to the West, particularly with regards to internet freedom. The prime minister said that a commission for citizens' rights would be created and that "people must have full access to all information worldwide."

"We want the people, in their private lives, to be completely free, and in today's world having access to information and the right of free dialogue, and the right to think freely, is the right of all peoples, including the people of Iran," he continued.

The White House has also emitted positive signals towards Tehran ahead of a potential meeting at the United Nations General Assembly next week, saying the U.S. is open to a direct exchange between the two leaders. This is a positive step being made by both governments that will hopefully usher in a new era of constructive dialogue and successful negotiations.   

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Frank Lopapa

Graduate of the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations, specializing in International Security and Global Negotiation and Conflict Management. Guest contributor to international affairs magazine Diplomatic Courier. When not writing about security issues for Policy Mic, I cover Italian soccer for Forza Italian Football, among other places.

MORE FROM

Movement for Black Lives activists disrupt Minneapolis Pride to protest Philando Castile verdict

Protesters reportedly held signs with messages like "No KKKops at Pride."

Protesters reportedly arrested near NYC's Stonewall Inn, Pride March endpoint

The reason for the arrests were not immediately known.

Marchers arrested in Istanbul as Pride parade continues despite cancellation

The organizers' decision to move forward with the previously cancelled march led to clashes with police.

Car slams into Eid celebrants in UK, injuring 6; police say terrorism isn't suspected

Police say they believe an Eid celebrant was behind the wheel of the car that injured six outside a mosque.

Oil truck explodes in Pakistan, killing at least 153

The deadly fire broke out as residents rushed to collect the leaking oil from the overturned tanker.

Will Justice Anthony Kennedy retire at end of Supreme Court term? Here's what we know.

Rumors that the 80-year-old swing justice may leave the bench are fueling fear of a second Trump pick on the nation's high court.

Movement for Black Lives activists disrupt Minneapolis Pride to protest Philando Castile verdict

Protesters reportedly held signs with messages like "No KKKops at Pride."

Protesters reportedly arrested near NYC's Stonewall Inn, Pride March endpoint

The reason for the arrests were not immediately known.

Marchers arrested in Istanbul as Pride parade continues despite cancellation

The organizers' decision to move forward with the previously cancelled march led to clashes with police.

Car slams into Eid celebrants in UK, injuring 6; police say terrorism isn't suspected

Police say they believe an Eid celebrant was behind the wheel of the car that injured six outside a mosque.

Oil truck explodes in Pakistan, killing at least 153

The deadly fire broke out as residents rushed to collect the leaking oil from the overturned tanker.

Will Justice Anthony Kennedy retire at end of Supreme Court term? Here's what we know.

Rumors that the 80-year-old swing justice may leave the bench are fueling fear of a second Trump pick on the nation's high court.