Rouhani Brings Hope to Iran-Western Relations

Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani

Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani says his “victory is a victory for wisdom, maturity and moderation.” Not only is he known for his conciliatory approach, but he has also pledged to promote a policy of “constructive interaction with the world” and to enact a domestic “civil rights charter”.

In essence, Rouhani brings hope for the improvement of relations between Iran and Western countries.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, British former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who worked with Rouhani in previous nuclear talks, called him a “very experienced diplomat… On a personal level I found him warm and engaging.”

Straw continued: “What this huge vote of confidence in Dr Rouhani appears to show is a hunger by the Iranian people to break away from the arid and self-defeating approach of the past and for more constructive relations with the West.”

Here is another important excerpt from thestar.com that shows Rouhani’s character:

Since Tuesday, election rallies by Rouhani’s supporters have witnessed chants in favour of former president Mohammad Khatami’s “dialogue of civilizations,” and an emphasis on the notion of republic alongside Islam. This last example is especially important as it brings back the role of civil society and the sovereignty of the people to counter the hegemonic discourse of government authority. Such steps taken by Rouhani and other reformists could revitalize efforts for finding democratic inroads within the country.

In a press conference on 17 June, Rouhani stated that, “We don’t want to see more tension [between Iran and the United States]. Wisdom tells us both countries need to think more about the future and try to sit down and find solutions to past issues and rectify things.” Such a stance can help facilitate bilateral talks.

Personally, I love the fact that Rouhani uses words like maturity and wisdom to discuss his victory. I appreciate how Rouhani admires Khatami’s approach of communication as a means to bridge the gap between Iranians and Westerners. The idea of a “dialogue of civilizations” is absolutely crucial in building that space for understanding and mutual respect between Iranians and people like Americans.

So far so good for Rouhani. Let us hope the U.S. government recognizes the change in leadership and changes its tone towards the great nation of Iran. Moreover, let us hope that Rouhani lives up to our lofty expectations.

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