UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iran’s new president, Hasan Rouhani, is scheduled to address the U.N. General Assembly this month in his debut on the world stage.
The United Nations has his speech scheduled for Sept. 24, hours after President Barack Obama addresses the annual General Assembly.
Rouhani, elected in June, is widely viewed as more moderate than his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, who used speeches at the General Assembly to question the Holocaust and the official explanation that the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks were caused by hijacked planes.
Iran is the subject of U.N. Security Council sanctions over its ballistic missile program and its suspected development of nuclear weapons, which its government denies. Iran says it only seeks reactors for energy and medical research.
The committee on Iran sanctions was meeting Thursday afternoon, but it is deadlocked between the West, which wants to tighten sanctions, and Russia, which contends that Rouhani should be given a chance to prove Iran can be a trustworthy negotiating party. The committee consists of all 15 Security Council members.
Australia’s Ambassador Gary Quinlan, who chairs the committee, told reporters Wednesday that the council members cannot even agree to endorse their own panel of experts’ report that Iran violated U.N. sanctions when it launched several ballistic missiles a year ago.
“We’re not making as much progress as we should,” Quinlan said.
The panel of experts concluded that Iran’s launch of Shahab-1 and Shahab-3 missiles in a war-game exercise in July 2012 “constituted a clear violation” of sanctions, and therefore all U.N. member states “should redouble efforts to implement ballistic missile-related sanctions on Iran.” The experts are appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and approved by the council to investigate reports of violations.
Quinlan told reporters that the sanctions committee had written to Tehran in April asking for clarification on the missile launches but has not received any response.
On Thursday, Rouhani confirmed that Iran’s Foreign Ministry will lead nuclear talks with world powers, a shift away from security officials setting Tehran’s strategies for the critical negotiations. The talks have been on hold for months after deadlocks over Western efforts to rein in Iran’s nuclear program.