|West should not miss opportunity offered by Rouhani: ElBaradei||
TEHRAN – The moderate leadership of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has offered the West an opportunity that must not be missed, Mohamed ElBaradei, the former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and a Nobel Peace laureate, wrote in a recent article.
In the article entitled “The politician who reached out to the West” that was published on the website of Time magazine on Wednesday, ElBaradei placed Rouhani on his list of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2014.
Following are excerpts of the article:
I met Hassan Rouhani at a stressful time — in 2003 … Rouhani was then President Mohammed Khatami’s insightful, pragmatic National Security Adviser; he was keen to seek a political solution through direct dialogue with the U.S. On his watch, Iran suspended sensitive nuclear activities as a gesture of goodwill until negotiations were completed. The Iranian media nicknamed him the Diplomat Sheik.
Regrettably, Rouhani’s moderate policies were undermined by U.S. hard-liners who were highly distrustful of Iran’s intentions; the U.S. … declined to engage Iran directly or provide incentives. Rouhani and his President were unable to show tangible outcomes of their efforts; …
It took the West a decade to realize that bare-knuckle competition for regional influence was not a viable strategy for dealing with Iran. The recent interim agreement, facilitated by Rouhani’s low-key diplomacy, could have been reached 10 years ago. With mutual respect, confidence building and compromise, this step can be translated into a broad security and cooperation agreement, paving the way for a grand bargain with the West and a sea change in regional security and stability. Rouhani’s moderate leadership offers an opportunity that must not be missed: too much is at stake.
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