Thu, Sep 26, 2013 - Page 9 News List

Great chance for real talk between Iran and the West

By Mohammad Khatami  /  The Guardian

Explicit public support from the supreme leader of the Islamic republic provides Rouhani and his colleagues with the necessary authority for a diplomatic resolution of a number of foreign policy issues with the West, not just the nuclear issue.

A peace-seeking Iran can contribute as a willing partner not only to solving its own differences with the global powers, but also to overcoming some of the region’s chronic political disputes. However, it requires a degree of courage and optimism from the West to listen to the voices of the Iranians who have been painfully targeted by unjust sanctions, which have threatened the very fabric of civil society and democratic infrastructures.

Failure now to create an atmosphere of trust and meaningful dialogue will only boost extremist forces on all sides. The consequences of such a failure will be not only regional, but global. For a better world — for Iranians and the next generation across the globe — I earnestly hope that Rouhani will receive a warm and meaningful response at the UN.

Iran is different from the Iran of years ago and the consequences of the Islamic revolution are still playing out. Our positive and negative experiences of the past 16 years have added another dimension to the reforms that Rouhani is conducting at domestic and international level; they have enriched the Islamic republic’s democratic capacities and added to the experience of the international community.

The public’s vote for Rouhani and his agenda for change has provided an unrivaled and possibly unique opportunity for Iran, the West and all local and regional powers. With a foreign policy based on dialogue and diplomacy at the heart of the Middle East, we can imagine a better world for the east and the West — including the diplomatic resolution of Iran’s nuclear issue, which is utterly feasible if there is goodwill and fairness.

Mohammad Khatami was president of Iran from 1997 to 2005.

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