This week, Iran’s newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, is doing something his predecessor seemed incapable of: He’s making friends.
At least, in a diplomatic sense. Rouhani, who is considered to be moderate compared with the hard-liners who came before him, is meeting with world leader after world leader ahead of his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. His English Twitter account has been documenting his day in New York so far.
At the time of this writing, the Iranian president is in a meeting with International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde.
In his addresses to the U.N., Ahmadinejad tended to alienate world powers with his aggressive remarks, which condemned capitalism, threatened Israel, and denied the Holocaust. Rouhani’s growing lineup of meetings with various leaders, however, suggests the speech he gives today won’t echo the words of his predecessor.
The speech, along with the string of meetings, suggests Rouhani is laying the groundwork for future talks about his country’s nuclear program. Some predicted that Rouhani and President Obama might shake hands at a luncheon Tuesday, but the Iranian president didn’t show. He then continued his day of meetings with French President François Hollande, according to his Twitter account.
The White House did, however, offer to organize an informal meeting between Obama and Rouhani on the sidelines of the day’s events, according to pool reports. The Iranians responded such an encounter was “too complicated for Iranians to do at this point.”
This story has been updated.