Annan-led global leaders calls for avoiding hostile rhetoric against Iran following Rouhani’s re-election

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UNITED NATIONS, May 24 (APP): A group of independent global leaders led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has welcomed the re-election of President Hassan Rouhani in Iran, and warned that inflammatory rhetoric towards Tehran could aggravate the situation in the region.
Known as “The Elders”, the group, which is dedicated to promoting peace and human rights, noted in a statement that President Rouhani’s consistent support for the nuclear deal between Iran and the ‘P5+1′ powers (the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom), and expressed the hope that his re-election means all signatories will continue to work in good faith for its full implementation.
The statement was issued after The Elders’ board meeting in Helsinki,
Finland, held under the chairmanship of Annan, the former UN chief.
“The Iranian people have given President Rouhani a fresh and
convincing mandate to pursue his policy of openness and engagement,” Annan said. “I hope he can build on the success of the nuclear agreement to deepen relations with the West and begin to bridge the sectarian chasm between Iran and its regional neighbours.”
The Elders also said that tensions between Sunni and Shia have
huge political and security ramifications across the region and require a careful and balanced response by the international community. They noted the recent meeting between the US President Donald Trump and Sunni leaders gathered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and urged the US to broaden its outreach to all regional parties.
Noting President Trump’s recent statement that religious extremism and terrorism must be tackled wherever it is found, The Elders also “warned that inflammatory rhetoric towards Iran can aggravate sectarianism and fuel current and future wars, and called on all leaders to exercise restraint.”
Gro Harlem Brundtland, a former Norwegian prime minister and Deputy
Chairperson of The Elders, said, “At a time of deep divisions, I hope President Rouhani’s re-election will mark the opening of a new and more peaceful chapter in regional relations. All parties should now try to forge common ground, in the shared interests of a peaceful Middle East and a world free from terror.”