Iran’s Hassan Rouhani Speaks to U.N. General Assembly

Signals willingness to negotiate on Iran's nuclear program

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Ebrahim Noroozi / AP

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani speaks during the debate on the proposed Cabinet at the parliament, in Tehran, Iran on Aug. 15, 2013.

President of Iran Hassan Rouhani spoke before the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday afternoon, insisting that Iran is no threat to world peace.

Rouhani struck a tone that was both conciliatory and defiant in his first appearance before the body. His speech was a marked contrast to the more combative style of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Rouhani signaled Teheran’s willingness to engage in negotiations but said that, “acceptance of the inalienable right of Iran constitutes the best and the easiest way of resolving this issue.” He condemned targeted assassinations, Western involvement in Syria and what he called the “structural violence” of economic sanctions that have wrought havoc on his country’s economy in recent years.