Iranian President Calls For ‘Constructive Engagement’ With U.S. In Op-Ed

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September 20, 2013 5:01 a.m.

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani declared Thursday in a Washington Post op-ed that the United States and the rest of the world “must work together to end the unhealthy rivalries and interferences that fuel violence and drive us apart” through a policy of “constructive engagement.”

Rouhani, the newly elected moderate leader of a nation that has long been at odds with the U.S. over its nuclear policy, advocated for international dialogue on issues plaguing the Middle East. He modeled that kind of “constructive interaction” by declaring that Iran would “help facilitate dialogue” between the Syrian government and rebel opposition. 

The president also directly addressed tension over Iran’s nuclear energy program, describing it as “peaceful” and arguing nuclear power “is as much about diversifying our energy resources as it is about who Iranians are as a nation.”

Rouhani wrote that the international community needs to “aim higher” in order to move beyond sticking points like the Syrian conflict and Iran’s nuclear policy, suggesting a desire for potential talks between Iran and the U.S. at the United Nations General Assembly next week.

“Rather than focusing on how to prevent things from getting worse, we need to think — and talk — about how to make things better,” Rouhani wrote.

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