Whether Iranian President Hassan Rowhani is simply presenting a more moderate face to the world or is open to real compromise to end the nuclear dispute is still unclear.
Even his detractors predict he will radiate charm and avoid provocations. Although he is a true believer in the Islamic Revolution and a pillar of the Iranian national security apparatus, he also is pragmatic and intelligent. He speaks English well, having lived in Scotland in the 1990s as a Ph.D. candidate.
It was Rowhani who arranged the Iranian government’s sympathetic reaction after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He also helped Washington reach out to opposition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, both of which border Iran, after the U.S.-led invasions.
In his recent public comments and Twitter postings, Rowhani has tried to appeal to the West without upsetting hard-liners at home.
He has proclaimed the “age of blood feuds” over, and said the United States and Iran can “turn threats into opportunities.” But he also has condemned U.S. “military interference” and insisted that Iran’s nuclear program is a natural right that it will not surrender.
McClatchy news service