No Handshakes for US and Iran, But Hope Prevails

'At the negotiation table' Cartoon by Mana Neyestani via Iran Wire

‘US and Iran at the negotiation table’ Cartoon by Mana Neyestani via Iran Wire (used with permission)

Despite high expectations for even a simple handshake between U.S. President Barack Obama and Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, at the United Nations in New York this week, it did not happen. But the two presidents each delivered speeches to the 68th UN General Assembly on Tuesday, September 25, that rekindled hopes of reconciliation between the two countries.

“We are not seeking regime change, and we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy,” Obama said.

In turn, Rouhani said he listened carefully to U.S. President Barack Obama's speech and hoped that the US “will refrain from following the short-sighted interests of war-mongering pressure groups” so that the two nations “can arrive at a framework to manage our differences.” In a conciliatory tone, he said that Iran “does not seek to increase tensions with the United States.”

Netzines expressed many different opinions on Rouhani's speech – from respect to disappointment, from deja vu to the rise new of new era.

Digital activist Arash Kamangir tweeted [fa]:

Rouhani did not want to get into a fight. He talked about peace. He appeared presidential.

Also on Twitter, Taaatweny1 writes with irony [fa]:

Some expected that Rouhani himself would shout in the UN, “Ban Ki Moon [UN general secretary], remember that Mir Hossein Mousavi [Iranian opposition leader] should be here.”

This refers to an earlier press conference with Rouhani on June 17, where someone heckled the president in front of the cameras, saying “Remember, Rouhani, Mousavi should be here!”

Jedaaal tweeted [fa]:

Rouhani's speech was the most secular and non-ideologic one we can expect for, even from an Iranian opposition member.

With irony Ali writes [fa]:

Ahmadinejad [former hardline president] must have prepared Rouhani's speech.

Farshid Faryabi tweets [fa] that although Rouhani's speech was written in an idealistic way rather than realistically political, his points on sanctions were good.

Both the US and Iran spoke about the need for negotiation and mutual respect to end crisis. May be as Mana Neyestani, a leading Iranian cartoonist [above] illustrates with her cartoon on Iran Wire it is time to leave the warrior garments behind. Maybe we can look forward to the two countries’ leaders shaking hands one day… hopefully soon.


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