Remarks by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to the 72nd U.N. General Assembly (Excerpts)

September 20, 2017

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile

Mr. President,

Mr. Secretary-General,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish at the outset to congratulate your election to the Presidency of the General Assembly and Secretary-General Guterres' election to his high office and wish him every success in his crucial responsibilities.

Four months ago, over 41 million people-constituting 73% of Iran's total eligible voters-came to the polls in the country's 12th presidential election and once again expressed confidence in my platform, which calls for moderation and respect for human rights and prosperity and economic revitalization at home, and constructive engagement around the world. Their vote manifested the maturity of the electorate in a society that has experienced free and democratic governance for only four decades. This was not merely a vote for a president, but a huge political investment by our population; a resilient people who truly constitute our most reliable asset.

Human and citizens' rights, along with the quest for justice and Islamic values, have constituted the most pivotal demands of the Iranian people in over 150 years of struggle, and particularly in the Islamic Revolution of 1979. In its first term, while pursuing nuclear negotiations internationally, my government focused at home on the deliberation and articulation of citizens' rights leading to the promulgation of "The Charter of Citizens' Rights" and its issuance for implementation. Adoption of this Charter conformed to the demands of a people who rose against dictatorial regimes, aspiring to restore their rights and human dignity 111 years ago in the Constitutional Revolution, and again in the Islamic Revolution 39 years ago.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I declare before this august global assembly that moderation is the inclination as well as the chosen path of the great Iranian people. Moderation seeks neither isolation nor hegemony; It implies neither indifference, nor intransigence.

The path of moderation is the path of peace; but a just and inclusive peace: not peace for one nation, and war and turmoil for others;

Moderation is freedom and democracy; but in an inclusive and comprehensive manner: not purporting to promote freedom in one place while supporting dictators elsewhere; Moderation is the synergy of ideas and not the dance of swords; And finally, the path of moderation nurtures beauty. Deadly-weapons exports are not beautiful; rather, peace is.  



The call of moderation is from a nation that has been committed to it. We are not preaching moderation, but practicing it. The JCPOA is a case in point.

The deal is the outcome of two years of intensive multilateral negotiations, overwhelmingly applauded by the international community and endorsed by the Security Council as a part of Resolution 2231. As such, it belongs to the international community in its entirety, and not to only one or two countries.

The JCPOA can become a new model for global interactions; interactions based on mutual constructive engagement between all of us. We have opened our doors to engagement and cooperation. We have concluded scores of development agreements with advanced countries of both East and West. Unfortunately, some have deprived themselves of this unique opportunity. They have imposed sanctions really against themselves, and now they feel betrayed. We were not deceived, nor did we cheat or deceive anyone. We have ourselves determined the extent of our nuclear program. We never sought to achieve deterrence through nuclear weapons; we have immunized ourselves through our knowledge and - more importantly - the resilience of our people. This is our talent and our approach. Some have claimed to have wanted to deprive Iran of nuclear weapons; weapons that we have continuously and vociferously rejected. And, of course, we were not and are not distressed for forgoing an option that we in fact never sought . It is reprehensible that the rogue Zionist regime that threatens regional and global security with its nuclear arsenal and is not committed to any international instrument or safeguard, has the audacity to preach peaceful nations.

Just imagine for a minute how the Middle East would look had the JCPOA not been concluded. Imagine that along with civil wars , Takfiri terror, humanitarian nightmares, and complex sociopolitical crises in West Asia, that there was a manufactured nuclear crisis. How would we all fare?

I declare before you that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not be the first country to violate the agreement; but it will respond decisively and resolutely to its violation by any party. It will be a great pity if this agreement were to be destroyed by "rogue" newcomers to the world of politics: the world will have lost a great opportunity. But such unfortunate behavior will never impede Iran's course of progress and advancement. By violating its international commitments, the new US administration only destroys its own credibility and undermines international confidence in negotiating with it, or accepting its word or promise.