President.ir via Reuters
"We must work together to end the unhealthy rivalries and interferences that fuel violence and drive us apart," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wrote in an op-ed which appeared in the Washington Post on Thursday.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared an end to "the age of blood feuds" and called for the U.S. and other governments to work together to solve issues such as the Syrian conflict and terrorism in a Washington Post op-ed published Thursday.
Rouhani, who was elected three months ago on a more moderate platform than predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, called for a "constructive approach to democracy."
"Gone is the age of blood feuds," he wrote. "World leaders are expected to lead in turning threats into opportunities."
He said that a "Cold War mentality" benefits no one.
Rouhani added: "We must work together to end the unhealthy rivalries and interferences that fuel violence and drive us apart ... In a world where global politics is no longer a zero-sum game, it is — or should be — counterintuitive to pursue one’s interests without considering the interests of others."
Rouhani's piece is the third high-profile op-ed in two weeks, after Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote a column in the New York Times and Sen. John McCain responded on a Russian website.
The Iranian president said he rejected a "unilateral approach, which glorifies brute force and breeds violence."
Referencing the 9/11 attacks, Rouhani added: "Nobody is immune to extremist-fueled violence, even thought it might rage thousands of miles away."
On Syria, a country which he called "a jewel of a civilization," Rouhani called for the creation of an "atmosphere where peoples of the region can decide their own fates." He also offered to help "facilitate dialogue" between President Bashar Assad's regime and rebels who have been fighting against his forces.
On terrorism, he said: "Security is pursued at the expense of the insecurity of others, with disastrous consequences," in reference to the ongoing "havoc" caused by al Qaeda more than a decade after 9/11.
He also wrote about his own country's controversial nuclear program. "After 10 years of back-and-forth, what all sides don't want in relation to our nuclear file is clear," he said.
The Iranian president's op-ed came just two days after he gave an exclusive interview to NBC News in which he blamed Israel for causing "injustice to the people" of the Middle East.
He called for peace, saying Iran is not "looking for war," but deflected a question from NBC News' Ann Curry about whether he believed that the Holocaust was "a myth."
"I'm not a historian. I'm a politician," he replied. "What is important for us is that the countries of the region and the people grow closer to each other, and that they are able to prevent aggression and injustice."
When asked by Curry about the fact that Ahmadinejad had people believing that Iran wanted to wipe Israel off the map, Rouhani replied: "What we wish for in this country is rule by the will of the people. We believe in the ballot box."
Curry also asked Rouhani to respond to comments by Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu, who has called him a "wolf in sheep's clothing."
Rouhani described Israel as "an occupier and usurper government" that "does injustice to the people of the region, and has brought instability to the region, with its war-mongering policies."
Secretary of State John Kerry responded to the NBC News interview by saying Rouhani's words needed to be "put to the test."
First published September 20 2013, 5:15 AM