At UN, Obama reaches out to Iran, highlights aid to Syrian civilians
September 24, 2013 7:53AM
U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Updated: September 24, 2013 12:36PM
WASHINGTON–President Barack Obama, speaking at the UN Tuesday, offered outreach to the new, supposedly more moderate Iranian government, highlighted increased U.S. humanitarian aid to Syria and said Israeli/Palestinian peace is a priority.
Obama announced the U.S. will provide $339 million in additional humanitarian aid for Syrian civilians impacted by the civil war, turning them into refugees in neighboring nations. That’s on top of $1.4 billion the U.S. has sent to the region since the beginning of the crisis.
Regarding heading Iran from becoming a nuclear power, Obama said a new chapter in Iran-U.S. relations may be possible with President Hassan Rouhani, who took office on Aug. 3. Regime change is not a U.S. goal. Rouhani is presenting a moderate image; however, during an interview with NBC’s Ann Curry, it was clear he was a Holocaust denier.
Obama at the UN said, “But I want to be clear. We are encouraged that President Rouhani received from the Iranian people a mandate to pursue a more moderate course. And given President Rouhani’s stated commitment to reach an agreement, I am directing John Kerry to pursue this effort with the Iranian government, in close cooperation with the European Union, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China.”
“The roadblocks may prove to be too great, but I firmly believe the diplomatic path must be tested, for while the status quo will only deepen Iran’s isolation, Iran’s genuine commitment to go down a different path will be good for the region and the world and will help the Iranian people meet their extraordinary potential — in commerce and culture, in science and education.”