Rouhani tone likely to reopen doors for Iran
New President Hassan Rouhani's experience as Iran's nuclear negotiator will go a long way toward changing the 'tone' of talks with major powers and...
New President Hassan Rouhani's experience as Iran's nuclear negotiator will go a long way toward changing the "tone" of talks with major powers and could lead to an easing of sanctions, analysts say. He may directly talk to US which influences P5+1 in N-talks with Iran. US has for its part said it is keen to engage Iran directly Tehran (AFP): New President Hassan Rouhani's experience as Iran's nuclear negotiator will go a long way toward changing the "tone" of talks with major powers and could lead to an easing of sanctions, analysts say. His negotiating skills won him the respect of his European interlocutors and the monicker "diplomat sheikh". But his policies under reformist president Mohammad Khatami were abandoned in 2005 when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected and Rouhani quit his post over differences. Afshon Ostovar, a Middle East and Iran analyst in the US-based CNA research centre, believes that Rouhani's success would depend on Khamenei. Rouhani is a representative of Khamenei on the Supreme National Security Council , Iran's top security body, and was its secretary for 16 years until 2005, and played up his ties with Khamenei. Tehran has been engaged since 2006 with the P5+1 over its controversial nuclear work, but with no breakthrough. It has as a result come under mounting international sanctions and isolation. In his first statement after his win was confirmed, the moderate conservative cleric urged world powers to treat Iran with respect and recognize its rights, an apparent allusion to its nuclear policy. Mohammad Saleh Sedghian, head of the Tehran-based Arabic Centre for Iranian Studies, believes the seasoned diplomat is the man to engage in talks with Iran's archfoe, Washington, to find a solution to the nuclear issue. "In one of his campaign speeches, Mr Rouhani said that since the majority in the 5+1 are under pressure from the US, Iran should negotiate with the side that exerts it, Washington," he pointed out. "So he will talk directly to the US to solve the issue" Sedghian said. Following Rouhani's victory, the United States itself said it was prepared to engage Iran directly over its nuclear programme, which the West suspects is aimed at building a bomb, despite Tehran's constant denials.