Time to End an Old Fued
President Obama and President Rouhani Should Meet
Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 26, 2013 11:09
The newly elected Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani has written an op-ed to the Washington Post, insisting the United States should end its “unhealthy” rivalry with Iran that drives the two countries apart. President Obama has already exchanged letters with President Rouhani exhibiting there is potential for constructive conversations between the two countries. Both Rouhani and Obama will address the United Nations general assembly, and there is a possibility these two leaders will be able to meet each other. However, major political and security analysts in the US counterpart, appear to be somewhat hesitant to find the significance of two presidents meeting each other at the UN national assembly.
Read why Obama should not meet Rouhani at the UN assembly by Rudy Giuliani and Fareed Zakaria.
Also there is a popular notion in the US, questioning whether Rouhani is “a sheep or a sheep covered in wolf fur.” I can understand the cause this notion when Iran pledged its alliance to Assad regime and Hezbollah in the Syrian conflict. I can understand this notion when Iran’s nuclear program and its intentions are still not absolutely certain. I can understand this notion when both the US and Iran failed to engage in a constructive conversation during Rouhani’s predecessor Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s time. Finally I can understand why some political pundits and security analysts argue the Iranian president does not posses the real power to take significant action without the permission of Ayotallah Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran.
Let me tell you why all these factors become less important if a direct meeting with the two presidents occur either in the UN general assembly, or in the near future. First, in the op-ed written to the Washington Post, Rouhani assures that the Iranian government strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict and he shows his strong volition to achieve peace and stability in Syria. I feel President Obama can make a substantial influence to dissolve the Syrian conflict if he talks to president Rouhani since both countries agree on the stability and peace in Syria. In addition, the Iranian government has the capacity to impact the role of Hezbollah in Syria. With an interview with Ann Curry of NBC, Iranian president said he has “complete authority” from the supreme leader to make a nuclear disarmament deal with the United States which exhibits that Iran’s approach to its nuclear program has significantly changed. Finally I argue that the unity between two nations will ease the tensions both in Iran and here at home. The economy of Iran is extremely suffering because of the sanction that the US and the other western powers have put against Iran. Thus Iranian businesses and Iranian people need the hand of the western powers to be economically strong.
By welcoming President Rouhani’s peaceful approach, the western powers will be able to affirm the security of the Middle East region.
Read my previous article on The Spectrum where I urged the US officials to converse with the former President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
I cannot agree with political experts such as Fareed Zakaria and Rudy Giuliani, who say that Obama should not meet Rouhani at the UN assembly, and instead The Secretary of State John Kerry should meet the Iranian president first. Even though I appreciate their cautiousness, and the necessity to have talks with Iran, I feel they fail to see how the Iranian president himself has initiated talks, and not the Iranian secretary of state. The world of politics can be very competitive but it does not mean that governments always have to protect all of our interests and egos. At times we can show genuine respect and put a quick step forward. If the United States wants to take the political leadership and stabilize The Middle East, quintessentially president Obama and president Rouhani should meet soon.
Samantha is a senior majoring in journalism.
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Updated Sept. 26 10:15 a.m.