Different Meeting

Different MeetingDifferent Meeting

President Hassan Rouhani and British Prime Minister David Cameron held a historic meeting in New York on Wednesday.

It was billed as a different meeting because over the past three decades Iranian presidents have met western leaders, but Iranian presidents and UK primiers had never met before.  Tehran’s relations with London have had more than their share of ups and downs, to the point that the two now do not even have full diplomatic ties.

It was the first meeting between an Iranian president and a British prime minister since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.    

The meeting took place at the British mission office at the United Nations.

Tehran and London broke off diplomatic ties when the British embassy in Tehran was attacked three years ago. The two countries decided to restore relations after Rouhani took office last year.        

  Better Future for Humanity

In a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday in New York, Rouhani said he is hopeful that efforts will be made to make a better future for the humanity.

 “The establishment of the United Nations and its charter brought hopes to reduce the security threats facing the world and today we hope a better future for the humanity through the efforts of those who are concerned about (the world’s people),” IRNA quoted him as saying. The president pointed to nuclear talks with the major powers and said, “We respect international regulations and the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) treaties and operate as before within a peaceful framework and are prepared to make a comprehensive agreement provided that the rights of Iranian nation will be upheld.”

He emphasized the need for all the involved parties in the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program to seize the existing opportunity, adding “It is presumed Iran has accepted to sit at the negotiating table under pressure, which is a great mistake.”

“Iran came to the negotiating table with a strong resolve to preserve its own and others’ interests.”

He expressed hope that the UN secretary general would play his role to help the negotiations reach a final “win-win” conclusion. The president added the world today is faced with a variety of challenges, including terrorism, violence, and environmental threats, while the greatest challenge is still the “hegemonistic policies” of world powers and prevalent injustice in the world.

Ban Ki-moon, on his part, said he feels honored to host the Iranian president at the UN premises.

On the efforts meant to resolve the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program, he said, “I praise the constructive interaction of Iran with the IAEA and its active engagement in negotiations with the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany).”

He said nuclear negotiations are approaching their final stage and expressed hope the two sides would not lose such an opportunity to reach a comprehensive agreement which is beneficial for all, adding it is only possible through exercising flexibility and seeking moderate solutions by those involved.

Touching on the issue of terrorism, he said unfortunately the world’s people no longer trust the capability of UN mechanisms to deal with the issue.

“We want a more serious and strategically constructive role of Iran in this regard,” he said.

  Message of Nuclear Talks   

In a separate meeting with his French counterpart on Tuesday, Rouhani said the most prominent message the nuclear talks with the major powers convey is that the greatest challenges in the world can be easily solved through negotiation.

“When negotiations started and the strong resolve of Iran in talks was recognized, the negative atmosphere against Iran in the West was replaced with a positive and promising image,” the Mehr news agency quoted him as saying.

“The current Iran-P5+1 negotiations are crucial in building the future and we hope to solve the nuclear dispute and reach a win-win conclusion, which takes the Iranian nation’s rights and concerns into consideration.”

Rouhani said trust lies at the core of bilateral interactions, adding, “Iran is an influential power in the region and the West should understand the reality.”

French President Francois Hollande, on his part, expressed hope the negotiations between Iran and major powers would be finalized soon and said, “An agreement has the potential to help enhance bilateral relations in a trusting atmosphere.”

He stressed the need for cooperation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism and said Paris is determined to support Iraq against terrorists.

The French president expressed optimism on expansion of bilateral industrial cooperation.

Rouhani also held talks with Austrian President Heinz Fischer, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in New York on Tuesday on the sidelines of the 69th UN General Assembly.