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Iranian President Gives U.N. Speech On Nuclear Weapons

Jeremy Fuster |
September 26, 2013 | 10:38 a.m. PDT

Executive Producer


A Rouhani campaign poster during Iran's election this past summer (Wikimedia Commons)
A Rouhani campaign poster during Iran's election this past summer (Wikimedia Commons)
The Associated Press reports that Iran's newly elected president Hassan Rouhani called on Israel in a United Nations meeting to join the rest of the Middle East in signing a treaty banning the spread of nuclear weapons. The speech comes just hours before a meeting between American and Iranian officials at the U.N. over the Islamic country's nuclear program. 

Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has not signed the 1979 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and Rouhani claims that the Jewish nation's holdout has been a primary reason why "four decades of international efforts to establish a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East have regrettably failed." 

Rouhani took his argument a step further, saying that his country's upcoming meeting with the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear program and other attempts by developed nations to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons should lead to complete nuclear disarmament. As leader of the Non-Aligned Movement, which represents dozens of developing countries, he asked the U.N. General Assembly to hold a "high-level" conference in the next five years that would establish a plan to eliminate all nuclear weapons worldwide.

"No nation should possess nuclear weapons, since there are no right hands for these wrong weapons," Rouhani said.

SEE ALSO | Rouhani's Message To America

Rouhani's recent public remarks have given the Obama Administration hope that his presidency will be far more moderate than that of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As a result, President Obama has sent Secretary of State John Kerry to meet with Rouhani and the U.N. Security Council to gauge the new administration's seriousness about ending its nuclear program. This will be the most direct contact that the U.S. and Iran have had since 2007.

Iran has insisted for years that its nuclear program is strictly for medical and energy purposes, but the Security Council members feared that Iran was using the program to build warheads and have imposed tough economic sanctions in an attempt to force Iran into submission.


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