Iranian President Says People Should Be Free and Vows Not To Build Nuclear Weapons
Iran's new president is making some pretty big promises, including saying that the country will never, ever engage in producing nuclear weapons.
Recently, new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani put some distance between himself and his much reviled predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, when he took to Twitter to offer Jews in Iran and across the globe a blessed Rosh Hashanah. (Something you probably wouldn't have seen from Ahmedinejad, who openly disputed whether or not the Holocaust actually happened.)
But the differences don't stop there. In an interview with NBC News in Tehran, Rouhani opened up about his thoughts on the lives of the Iranian people and his plans when it comes to the country's weapons stores.
When asked about the topic of chemical weapons — a loaded question as the U.S. remains potentially ready to strike against Syria for the use of sarin — Rouhani said, “We are not the government of Syria. We are one of the countries of this region which is asking for peace and stability and the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction in the entire region."
According to Rouhani, that peace and stability includes avoiding nuclear weapons production telling NBC, "Under no circumstances would we seek any weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, nor will we ever.”
Rouhani also touched on what the lives of the Iranian people should be like under his leadership saying, "We want the people in their private life 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 the right of all people, including the people of Iran." Iranians briefly received access to the social media through a bug in the country's block earlier this week, only to have usage restricted once again the next day.
Rouhani added that citizens should be free to speak their minds on the internet so long as it doesn't interfere with the "protection of the national identity."
A commission for citizen's rights which is supposed to be established soon will help determine exactly what that entails.
Rouhani's plans, progressive based on what the world is used to from Iran's leadership, may be part of an effort to reestablish official diplomatic relations with the U.S., which were halted during the last president's tenure.
Since his election, Rouhani and President Obama have exchanged several letters about their views on political issues in an attempt to get the ball rolling on establishing a new relationship. The Iranian leader has also freed 11 political prisoners in an attempt to mend fences with the West.