Iranian president seeks constructive engagement with West

Iranian president seeks constructive engagement with West
# 20 September 2013 21:47 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called for constructive engagement with the West in addressing various issues.

"A constructive approach to diplomacy... means engaging with one's counterparts, on the basis of equal footing and mutual respect, to address shared concerns and achieve shared objectives," Rouhani wrote in an article carried by Friday's Washington Post.

"In other words, win-win outcomes are not just favorable but also achievable. A zero-sum, Cold War mentality leads to everyone's loss," he wrote in the op-ed.

"We must work together to end the unhealthy rivalries and interferences that fuel violence and drive us apart," he added.

Rouhani proposed a two-pronged approach. "First, we must join hands to constructively work toward national dialogue, whether in Syria or Bahrain."

"Second, we must address the broader, overarching injustices and rivalries that fuel violence and tensions."

Rouhani announced his government's readiness to help facilitate dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition.

With regard to Iran's nuclear program, a major contention point between the Islamic Republic and the West, Rouhani called for respect for his country's identity.

"The centrality of identity extends to the case of our peaceful nuclear energy program. To us, mastering the atomic fuel cycle and generating nuclear power is as much about diversifying our energy resources as it is about who Iranians are as a nation, our demand for dignity and respect and our consequent place in the world. Without comprehending the role of identity, many issues we all face will remain unresolved."

He sees the issue of identity as a key driver of tension in, and beyond, the Middle East. "At their core, the vicious battles in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria are over the nature of those countries' identities and their consequent roles in our region and the world."

Rouhani also urged his Western counterparts to seize the opportunity presented by his election and engage in constructive dialogue with his new government.

Rouhani wrote this opinion piece in the major U.S. newspaper ahead of his trip to New York for the 68th UN General Assembly that starts next week.