Iran moves to mend ties with West

The New York Times reports: Iran’s supreme leader seemed to put his authority behind Iran’s moderate new president on Tuesday, calling for “heroic leniency” in navigating the country’s diplomatic dispute with the West.

The president, Hassan Rouhani, was elected in June on a moderate platform of ending the nuclear standoff with the West and increasing personal freedoms. In a speech to the Revolutionary Guards, considered stalwarts of the conservative wing of the government, the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said he was “not opposed to proper moves in diplomacy.”

Enlarging on that theme, he said, “I agree with what I called ‘heroic leniency’ years ago, because such an approach is very good and necessary in certain situations, as long as we stick to our main principles.”

In what may be a further signal that Mr. Rouhani’s victory in the June election has created a chance for intensified diplomacy, the country’s Foreign Ministry confirmed on Tuesday that he had exchanged letters with President Obama.

But asked about the tone of Mr. Obama’s letter — something the Iranians are extremely sensitive about — Marzieh Afkham, the ministry spokeswoman, said Iran expected improvement in the way Washington talked to Iran.

“Unfortunately, the U.S. administration is still adopting the language of threat while dealing with Iran,” Ms. Afkham said at a weekly news conference. “We have announced that this needs to change into the language of respect.” [Continue reading…]

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