Iran's Rouhani cancels anti-Israel conference
AP reports that as part of its diplomatic outreach to the West, the administration of Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani has cancelled an anti-Israeli conference called “New Horizon.” This action is the latest in a series of steps that signal a new diplomatic approach for Iran in the international arena.
The annual event was set up by Rouhani’s predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and largely served as a platform for Mr. Ahmadinejad to give vent to his anti-Israeli sentiments. In prior conferences, Mr. Ahmadinejad had suggested that “Israel should be wiped off the map” and “The holocaust was a myth.”
Rouhani’s move seems to have angered hard-liners, one of whom said the cancellation was a “disaster” and a “big mistake.”
Rouhani’s latest move comes ahead of historic talks between Iran and six world powers next week in Geneva. The participants are expected to discuss Iran’s nuclear program the steps it can take to ease sanctions. The West has long accused Iran of enriching uranium to build a nuclear weapon. Iran insists its atomic program is for peaceful purposes.
Israel views Iran as a threat to its existence. Recently, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu called Mr. Rouhani a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. He also urged the U.N. to hold sanctions on Iran.