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 .