Iranians Cheer, Protest Over Rouhani’s Historic Phone Call With Obama
Hundreds of Iranians cheered President Hassan Rouhani on his return from New York on Saturday after his historic phone call with U.S. President Barack Obama but a smaller number of hardliners shouted “Death to America” and threw eggs and shoes at his official car leaving the airport, Iranian media reported.
While an anticipated handshake between Rouhani and Obama at United Nations headquarters failed to materialize, they held a 15-minute call on Friday at the end of the moderate new Iranian president’s trip for the U.N. General Assembly.
Iranian media said hundreds of Rouhani supporters keen to see him make good on pledges of “constructive interaction” with the world to ease Iran’s international isolation and win relief from punitive sanctions turned up to hail his U.N. visit.
They greeted the president with chants of “Rouhani we thank you” and “Iran calls for moderation” and held aloft portraits of him, the student news agency ISNA said.
But about 100 conservative hardliners also appeared, shouting “Death to America”, a standard refrain at radical rallies in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and “no compromise or surrender to our national interests”.
Witness reports posted on Twitter said protesters pelted Rouhani’s limousine with eggs and stones in anger over his direct contact with Obama, the first between Iranian and U.S. presidents for 34 years.