The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Iranian president seeks peace with United States

On Sept. 19, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani published an article for The Washington Post that resounded throughout the world: “Why Iran seeks constructive engagement.”

“We must work together to end the unhealthy rivalries and interferences that fuel violence and drive us apart,” he wrote.

Four days later, Rouhani spoke at the U.N. General Assembly, selling a peace pitch to the West.

When asked what they thought about Rouhani’s position, students had a lot to say.

“Ahmadinejad is no longer in office, and Rouhani sees an opportunity for a better relationship with the U.S.,” first-year Chris Honein said.

Joshua Weil, junior and president of the Guilford College Democrats, also hopes for a transformation.

“The former presidents of Iran have all had policies that contradicted peace,” said Weil. “This is a new president.

“I’ve been very skeptical up until this point,” he added. “But I’d like to think that political structures could change … every year passes and you have new ideas … people might open up.  I’m trying to keep an open mind.”

Weil’s initial skepticism is valid in light of The New York Times writer Somini Sengupta’s argument.

”It was at times difficult to tell whether Mr. Rouhani was a genuinely transformative Iranian leader … or a more polished avatar of the past,” Sengupta wrote in her article.

Is Rouhani genuine, or is he simply trying to woo American support for an Iranian nuclear weapons development program?

According to Sengupta, “(Rouhani) insisted on Iran’s right to build what he says is a civilian nuclear program.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuses to consider Rouhani’s diplomatic approach.

“Israel will not be fooled by half-measures that merely provide a smokescreen for Iran’s continual pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told the U.N. General Assembly.

Professor of Political Science Maria Rosales indicates the reasoning behind Israel’s hesitancy to extend ties with Iran.

“(Israel) would be very uncomfortable with the U.S. being at peace with Iran unless the U.S. was not going to let Iran undermine Israel’s position in the Middle East,” she said.

At the U.N. General Assembly, President Barack Obama acknowledged Rouhani’s claim that “the Islamic Republic will never develop a nuclear weapon.”  Obama made it clear that “the U.S. (would) not tolerate the development or use of weapons of mass destruction” under any circumstances.

After the Assembly adjourned, Rouhani and Obama spoke by telephone for 15 minutes about resolving the standoff over Iran’s nuclear weapons program.  Afterwards, Obama said to the American public that he believes (Iran and the U.S.) can reach a comprehensive solution regarding nuclear weapons.

But the issue of peace with Iran goes beyond simply achieving it. It goes beyond nuclear weapons, too. The question is: if peace is achieved, can it be maintained?

“I think it could be maintained assuming that Rouhani stays in office,” Weil said. “Change in political structure could lead to the next president deciding that they don’t want peace with the U.S.”

“Maintaining peace would be difficult,” said Honein. “America and Iran have very different views on Israel. That is a decisive enough issue to alone cause strain.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Guilfordian intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Guilfordian does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Guilfordian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *