Al-Monitor- In his Sept. 20 speech at the UN General Assembly, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded to his American counterpart Donald Trump’s speech against Tehran by defining “moderation,” which has long been his key campaign slogan.
Trump’s Sept. 19 UN speech received extensive coverage in Iran, and many Iranians sat down to watch his speech as they were expecting a negative decision to be announced by the US president regarding the nuclear deal that was achieved between Tehran and P5+1 (the United States, the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) in 2015. The harsh remarks of Trump led Iranians to eagerly anticipate their president’s speech at the UN more than in the past. Meanwhile, Iranian hard-liners — who believe that Rouhani’s foreign policy of developing ties with the world, including with the United States, is wrong — sought to take advantage of the tensions stemming from Trump’s speech, asking Rouhani to answer the US president in at least equally bombastic fashion. Indeed, moderates and Reformists were worried that Rouhani would pursue the hard-liners’ approach, which was believed to be in the interest of anti-Iran politicians in the United States.
The moment of truth came Sept. 20. Declining the hard-liners’ suggestions, Rouhani addressed the UN diplomatically, avoiding the use of insulting words. Instead, he took subtle swipes at Trump, emphasizing Iran’s having long conquered the world through its culture and poets rather than guns and bullets.
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