Rouhani: Extremists want to destroy civilization

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Rouhani speaks on extremists at UN
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Rouhani: Extremists want to destroy civilization
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, center, walks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, second right, as he leaves after addressing the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
President Hassan Rouhani, of Iran, addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, right, greets Iranian President Hassan Rouhani before a meeting at the United Nations Tuesday, Sept 23, 2014, on the sidelines of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly. (AP Photo/Jewel Samad, Pool)
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
The Israel delegation seats are empty as President Hassan Rouhani, of Iran, addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
President Hassan Rouhani, of Iran, listens to remarks from the dais after his address to the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
President Hassan Rouhani, of Iran, addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
President Hassan Rouhani, of Iran, arrives to address the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
President Hassan Rouhani, of Iran, acknowledges the audience after his address to the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center, arrives to hear an address by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani during the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
President Hassan Rouhani, of Iran, addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran sits after addressing the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, right, greets Iranian President Hassan Rouhani before a meeting at the United Nations Tuesday, Sept 23, 2014, on the sidelines of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly. (AP Photo/Jewel Samad, Pool)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is escorted for a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, on the sidelines of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly. (AP Photo/Jewel Samad)
The Iran delegation listens as the president of Iran Hassan Rouhani addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly September 25, 2014 at the United Nations in New York. AFP PHOTO/Don Emmert (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
The Iraqi delegation listens as the president of Iran Hassan Rouhani addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly September 25, 2014 at the United Nations in New York. AFP PHOTO/Don Emmert (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
President of Iran Hassan Rouhani addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly September 25, 2014 at the United Nations in New York. AFP PHOTO/Don Emmert (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
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By EDITH M. LEDERER

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Iran's president warned world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday that the goal of extremists creating chaos in the Mideast is the destruction of civilization and rise of Islamophobia.

Hassan Rouhani said the Islamic terrorists want to create "a fertile ground for further intervention of foreign forces in our region."

In a wide-ranging speech, he also said a nuclear agreement is possible before the November deadline if the West wants a deal and shows flexibility.

He said an agreement would create a new day for cooperation in the region and internationally, including on combating violence and extremism.

Rouhani said many parts of the Middle East "are currently burning in fire of extremism and radicalism" and expressed deep regret that terrorism has become globalized.

Terrorism is now a threat "from New York to Mosul, from Damascus to Baghdad, from the easternmost to the westernmost parts of the world, from al-Qaeda to Daesh," the Iranian leader said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State extremist group.

He said extremists come to the Middle East from around the world with a single ideology, "violence and extremism."

"The extremists of the world have found each other and have put out the call: `extremists of the world unite,' " Rouhani said. "But are we united against the extremists?"

Rouhani said all countries that founded and supported the terrorist groups must acknowledge that their errors have led to extremism and apologize not only to the past generation but to the next generation.

He addressed the assembly as representatives from six major powers - the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany - continued nuclear talks on the sidelines of the meeting of world leaders.

The negotiations have been stalled for months over Iran's opposition to sharply reducing the size and output of centrifuges that can enrich uranium both to levels needed for reactor fuel or the core of nuclear warheads. Iran says its enrichment program is only for peaceful purposes, but the United States fears it could be used to make a bomb. Iran says any deal must put an end to the sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.

Rouhani told the General Assembly that Iran is determined to continue its confidence-building approach and transparency in the nuclear negotiations.

If the six parties "are also equally motivated and flexible, and we can overcome the problem and reach a longstanding agreement within the time remaining, then an entirely different environment will emerge for cooperation and regional and international levels, allowing for greater focus on some very important regional issues such as combating violence and extremism in the region," he said.

Rouhani said it would also be "a historic opportunity" for the West to show it doesn't discriminate on international rules, which allow Iran to have a peaceful nuclear program to produce energy.

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