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Iran's President Rouhani waits to address the 68th United Nations General Assembly in New York

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has expressed cautious hope about engaging with Iran over its nuclear program, but says the country must take concrete steps to prove its sincerity.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Iran is continuing a “vast and feverish” effort to acquire nuclear arms and that his country is ready to stand alone in defending itself against Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. The Israeli leader urged the international community not to let up the pressure on Iran and accused President Hassan Rouhani of masterminding a strategy to advance Tehran’s nuclear weapons program, calling him “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

Iran’s U.N. envoy, in a rebuttal, called Netanyahu’s speech “inflammatory.”

Alireza Nader

Alireza Nader

To what extent can Iran be trusted? We posed the question to Alireza Nader, a senior international policy analyst with the RAND Corporation and author of the publication Coping with a Nuclearizing Iran. He spoke to VOA’s Susan Yackee.

Below please find select highlights of his remarks. For the full interview, click on the audio player on the bottom of this post.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of trust.  My advice would be to distrust Islamic Republic, but to verify their intent.  With President Rouhani’s election in June we are seeing a change in Iran’s approach to the nuclear issue… very different than the policies pursued by the former president.”

What is important is testing Iran’s intentions, “coming to an agreement on the nuclear program in which Iran limits its nuclear pursuits and is rewarded with sanctions relief and allows us to verify it as not moving toward a nuclear weapons capability. So, for me, I find it is not so much of an issue of trust but getting to a negotiated settlement that can be verified and implemented.”

“One of the reasons I believe that Iran is changing its approach is due to the dire economic situation in Iran brought on by sanctions to a certain extent.”

“There’s an opportunity here to reach a deal with Iran which limits its nuclear program, stops uranium enrichment up to 20 percent which can then be used for a nuclear weapon, opens up some of its facilities that we suspect have been used for weapons experimentation. So while Iran may still keep aspects of its uranium enrichment program, I think the United States and its partners have an opportunity to make sure Iran does not move toward a nuclear weapons break-out capability.”

Listen to our full interview with Alireza Nader:

Susan Yackee

Susan Yackee is anchor of VOA's International Edition radio show. She has been a reporter in the Washington area for more than 35 years and regularly interviews newsmakers and analysts in DC and around the world. Susan works in television, radio and social media.


  1. Harry Weaver

    October 3, 2013


    Iran has never enriched as far as 20% and only as far as the 19.% required for medical isotopes.
    The grasping at any straw to re-access the Iranian oil asset is disgusting to watch.
    The compliant mouthings of ‘experts’ of the corporations, who would stand to profit as they stand on the sidelines poised, like the forces of another ‘Desert Storm’ to race in and plunder, does the U.S. and the roaring mouse of double standards, Israel, no credit at all. That’s if they actually do have any left.

    The supreme leader, some years ago, issued a Fatwa, to the effect that nuclear weapons were contrary to the ways of Allah and, for that reason, none were to be manufactured in Iran. For that reason alone, anyone (accent on the *anyone*) found doing so would immediately lose their head under Sharia law, no recourse.

    There are many other reasons as to the ‘why not’.
    But logic has no sway when philosophies of convenience rule in polite salon conversation.

  2. Shein Ariely

    October 3, 2013

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me !

    1:Obama- number 1 in USA hierarchy should talk only to number 1 in Iranian hierarchy the Supreme leader and not the Iranian President .

    Form Wikipedia- Constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran.
    Hierarchy of power:

    “”All democratic procedures and rights are subordinate to the Guardian Council and the Supreme Leader.

    The Supreme Leader’s powers extend beyond those enumerated in the Constitution because he can use “Islamic issues for justification.”"

    2: Pls pay attention to the following cut and pace from the constitution:

    “”This century will witness the establishment of a universal holy government and the downfall of all others”"

    Interpretation of Professor Bernard Lewis the number 1 worldwide academic
    expert on Islam, based on constitution and Iranian leaders speeches to their people and not the international community:

    Islamic Iran cannot be deterred by the arms control strategies that worked with
    the Soviets
    In Islamic Iran apocalyptic time has come.
    “Ma’adi” the Shia messiah is already here.
    The good can go enjoy the delights of paradise and the wicked,

    Would you trust a government with such an ideology to be closed to get

    3: Rouhani, acting as Iran chief negotiator with EU states starting 2003 he succeeded to prevent Iran’s case from being reported to the UN Security Council, buying time for Iran complete its nuclear fuel cycle and took groundbreaking steps in Nuclear development.

    He played a key role in Iran diversion and is famous for his ability to talk softly and build confidence and buying time for the centrifuges to process nuclear material.

    Rouhani has a Ph.D. degree in Constitutional Law on flexibility.
    He is an expert of preplanned diversion.

    Refer to Hassan Rouhani in Wikipedia

    • Harry Weaver

      October 3, 2013

      Yes, let’s set international policy guidelines according to the rantings of any idiot that chooses to post on Wikipedia.
      I’m sure the U.S and Israel would be in it if it suited purpose.


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