Iran hails Obama's UN speech

AFP , Wednesday 25 Sep 2013

Iranian press pleased with Obama's tone with regards to Iran in his UN speech, calling it 'moderate and respectful'

US President Barack Obama addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, 24 September, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

A senior Iranian official welcomed the "moderate and respectful tone" of US President Barack Obama's speech to the UN General Assembly, as newspapers hailed a new path for the Islamic republic.

"It seems a new climate has been created with the rise to power of a new Iranian government, and all international parties are trying to react to this new climate,"said Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi.

"For example, Barack Obama has tried to use a more moderate and respectful tone," he said, quoted by ISNA news agency.

"But no doubt what's important in foreign policy are actions," he said. If the world's major powers "respect Iran's nuclear rights under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, I think reaching a solution is imaginable."

Meanwhile, the press welcomed Obama's speech for having recognised Washington's "past mistakes."

In remarks before the General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, the US president pushed for a "diplomatic path" with the new Iranian government.

"I don't believe this difficult history can be overcome overnight -- the suspicion runs too deep," Obama said.

"But I do believe that if we can resolve the issue of Iran's nuclear programme, that can serve as a major step down a long road towards a different relationship -- one based on mutual interests and mutual respect."

The Unites States, other Western powers and Israel suspect that Tehran is using its nuclear programme as a cover to develop an atomic bomb, something Iran has always denied.

The moderate Donya-e-Eqtesad daily greeted Obama's "different tone," while the conservative Jomhouri Eslami revelled in a declaration that "the United States does not seek regime change" in Iran.

The reformist Shargh newspaper hailed the US leader's speech for opening up "a new path" for the relationship between the two arch-foes, which have had no diplomatic ties since 1980.

"Even those most pessimistic to an opening in relations have accepted that the time for change has arrived," its editorial said.

It added that the international situation has "significantly changed in Iran's favour," and argued that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be "isolated" as a "warmonger."

Engaging in negotiations with Washington and world powers over Tehran's nuclear drive, Shargh said, would culminate in the recognition of Iran's "rights."

Etemad, another reformist daily, quoting ex-deputy foreign minister Mehdi Mohtashami, said Obama acknowledging "past mistakes" was a sign that the two sides "have the will to fight against mistrust."

Several newspapers, including the government-run Iran daily, revelled in Obama's declaration in recognising a religious decree by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on a ban against weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear arms.

However, optimism was not shared by all the Islamic republic's media.

The hardline Kayhan daily mocked Obama's "jabbering against Iran," while saying his declared respect for Tehran to operate a peaceful nuclear programme was "a sign of Iran's power."

Political analyst Saeed Leylaz, writing in Shargh, was critical of "the illusion of a magic wand" that possible rapprochement with the United States would solve all of Iran's problems.

"Negotiations cannot solve the economic and political problems of Iran," he said. "The solution must come from within."

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