Iran Leader Hassan Rouhani Suggests Peace With Israel Is Goal

Moderate Steers Clear of Mentioning Jewish State by Name

getty images

By Reuters

Published September 19, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in a new television interview, said his country is not seeking war and that Iran wants the Middle East to have “rule by the will of the people.”

His comments came during the second part of an interview with NBC News that aired on Thursday, just days before he travels to New York for an appearance at the United Nations.

Rouhani, asked about Israel, said: “What we wish for in this region is rule by the will of the people. We believe in the ballot box. We do not seek war with any country. We seek peace and friendship among the nations of the region.”

In an earlier part of the interview that aired on Wednesday, Rouhani said Iran would never develop nuclear weapons and that he had “complete authority” to negotiate a nuclear deal with the United States and other Western powers.

The interview may signal Rouhani’s efforts to improve relations with the West after years of hostility. He also appeared to support the growing wave of pro-democracy uprisings sweeping across the region.

But some questions, especially about Iran’s stance toward Israel, remained unanswered.

Rouhani’s predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had infamously said the Holocaust was a myth.

Rouhani declined to say whether he also believed that. “What is important to Iran is that countries, people in the region grow closer and prevent aggression and injustice,” he told NBC’s Ann Curry.

He also appeared to support lifting Iran’s Internet censorship, saying: “We want the people, in their private lives, to be completely free.”

“In today’s world, having access to information and the right of free dialogue and the right to think freely is a right of all peoples, including Iranians,” he said. “The people must have full access to all information worldwide.”

As part of that effort, the government plans to set up a commission for citizen’s rights in the near future, he said.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.