The Iranian parliament lent overwhelming approval to President Hasan Rouhani’s diplomatic efforts at improving relations with Western nations during his visit to the United Nations.
A statement signed by 230 out of 290 members of parliament praised Rouhani as one “who portrayed the image of powerful and peace-seeking Iran which seeks talks and interaction for the settlement of regional and international issues, while remaining loyal to the values and causes of the Islamic Revolution,” the Iranian FARS news agency reported on Wednesday.
The statement emerged from the first meeting between Rouhani and his parliament since his return from New York, and the president filled in members on his activities at the UN, Reuters reported.
Rouhani, who was elected president in June, reviewed his meetings with foreign ministers about Iran’s controversial nuclear program and regional relations that were held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting last week. What has become known as Rouhani’s “charm offensive” culminated in a phone call with President Barack Obama on Friday.
The phone call drew criticism on Monday from the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps General Mohammad Ali Jafari, who otherwise supported Rouhani’s activities.
“The honorable president adopted mighty and appropriate stances during this trip, particularly in his address to the United Nations General Assembly,” Jafari told Iran’s Tasnim News Agency. However, Jafari expressed some disapproval of Rouhani, arguing that instead of speaking by phone with Obama, he should have waited for concrete changes in American policy.
In his debut address to the United Nations General Assembly last week, Rouhani offered “transparency” on Iran’s nuclear program, but firmly reserved the right to engage in what he termed “peaceful” uranium enrichment.
Rouhani returned to Iran on Saturday where he got a mixed reception at the airport, as several dozen hardline Islamists chanted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” as his motorcade drew away. Others attempted to obstruct the road by praying on the pavement, The New York Times reported. The protesters threw shoes, eggs and stones at Rouhani’s car but were outnumbered by several hundred supporters of the president who shouted, “Thank you Rouhani,” AFP reported Saturday.