Iran poses 'absolutely no threat' to the world: President Rouhani

Iran poses 'absolutely no threat' to the world: President Rouhani

UNITED NATIONS - Agence France-Presse
Iran poses absolutely no threat to the world: President Rouhani

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, Sept. 24. REUTERS photo

Iran's President Hassan Rowhani told the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 24 that his country poses "absolutely no threat to the world."

In a speech widely watched for signs of a thaw with the United States, Rouhani condemned drone attacks on "innocent people" and the use of sanctions against his country,  comparing them to the widely criticized punitive measures against Iraq while the late Saddam Hussein was in power.

"These sanctions are violent, pure and simple," he told the U.N. General Assembly, adding that normal people, not political elites, ended up suffering because of them. "The negative impact is not nearly limited to the intended victims of sanctions."

Rouhani also said nuclear weapons have 'no place' in Iran's security. "Iran's nuclear program must pursue exclusively peaceful purposes. ... This has been and will always be the objective of the Islamic Republic of Iran," Rouhani told the audience, urging U.S. President Barack Obama to ignore 'warmongering pressure groups.'

I listened carefully to the statement made by President Obama today at the General Assembly. [I'm] hoping that they will refrain from following the short-sighted interests of warmongering pressure groups we can arrive at a framework to managing our differences," he said. 

Rouhani said that Iran was prepared to reach a "framework" for managing differences with the United States and to engage immediately in "time-bound" talks on the nuclear issue.

Rouhani calls Holocaust crime against Jews

Rouhani on Tuesday condemned the Holocaust as "reprehensible" in a new sign of a radical change by the Tehran government.

"Any crime that happens in history against humanity, including the crime the Nazis created toward the Jews, is reprehensible and condemnable," the newly elected leader told CNN in an interview.

"Whatever criminality they committed against the Jews we condemn. The taking of human life is contemptible," he said, according to the US broadcaster's translation.

"It makes no difference whether that life is Christian, Jewish or Muslim. For us it is the same," added Rouhani, who gave his first speech at the United Nations General Assembly earlier Tuesday.