Thursday, September 26, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2536: Iran's President Hassan Rouhani Interview with Christiane Amanpour; Body Language Tells (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

In the past 48 hours, Hassan Rouhani has been interviewed by several members of the American press. A portion of Christiane Amanpour's dialog with the Iranian President is included in the above video. President Rouhani has a relatively blunted level of baseline nonverbal expressions - particularly when compared with his immediate predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He is of course, like the rest of us, only human. Thus for those who know what to look for, multiple body language tells can be detected. Two of these in particular are discussed below.

 At 3:20 President Rouhani continues, "... But when it comes to specific issues, government officials may speak with their American counterparts. If an opportunity had arisen today, and the prep-work for that had been done, probably the talks would have taken place - primarily focused on the nuclear issue or on developments on the Middle East. And therefore, The Supreme Leader has, I can tell you, given the permission for my government to freely negotiate on these issues."

Amanpour: "So you do have that authorization?"

Rouhani: "Yes."

Amanpour: "Yes."

At 3:51, just has Rouhani says "Yes", he displays a microexpression of disgust. This moment is captured in the above image although it is infinitely better appreciated within the dynamic context of the video. It is subtle yet significant. The President is probably expressing contempt towards Amanpour, since she immediately re-asked a question which he had just answered - although it is possible his disgust is directed elsewhere (such as at The Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei or his government's structure necessitating him "needing permission" when he believes it is wise to conduct negotiations).

At 5:31, Amanpour begins, "You say and you've said many times, every Iranian president has said it and so has The Supreme Leader said it, that 'Iran does not want nuclear weapons.' However, you know the issue is a confidence issue and that, frankly, many people don't believe it...."

At 5:44, (as Amanpour continues her question) a subtle yet distinct expression of anger can be seen immediately after this as (5:44 - 5:46) President Rouhani tightens up his "mustache area" (This term is used to describe the area above the upper lip and below the nose, regardless of the gender or whether a mustache is present). His upper lip slightly thins out - although this is difficult to see because of the President's mustache. Both nostrils also flare slightly as he inhales a deeper breath. He also tilts his head and neck slightly forward. President Rouhani is feeling significant anger at Amanpour - and with what she alleges is others' incredulity.

Note the multiple rapid blinking - also occurring at 5:44. This is commonly seen in the presence of anger and frustration particularly when there is an attempt at suppression of an outward manifestation of the anger. Interpreted in isolation, such rapid fluttering blinks are highly consistent with anxiety.

President Rouhani is very skilled at suppressing his emotions and his nonverbal expressions - far better than most, however true emotions always leak out if you know for what and where to look.

What important emotions have you missed today?

See also:

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1933:  Iran's Aggression and their Military's Salute - A Visual Metaphor of WWII & Nazi Fear 

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Tip # 1239:  Benjamin Netanyahu, Barack Obama and Iran

Nonverbal Communication Intelligence # 2113:  Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, the U.S. and the  Self-Righteous Head Wiggle

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication Secret # 1162:  Ahmadinejad, Napoleon, al-Assad and Dominance

Leadership Secret # 112: Pakistan Trumps Iran

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2130:  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Helping Syria - Interview with Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2127:  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Body Language during  Piers Morgan Interview

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2123: The "White Widow" Samantha Lewthwaite's - What does Her Falsified Passport Photo Tell Us?