New President Hasan Rouhani, who succeeds Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has pledged to boost the economy and better Tehran’s international ties.
President Hasan Rouhani, a moderate conservative, pledged to uphold the constitution and protect the official religion of the Islamic Republic of Iran in a ceremony broadcast live on state television on Sunday in Tehran.
Rouhani, 64, who served in parliament from 1980 to 2000, defeated several conservative rivals in the June 14 presidential election.
He has pledged to strengthen the economy and engage more with the international community in order to reverse the damage caused by the provocative policies of his controversial predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Call for ‘respect’
Speaking after being sworn in, Rouhani called for dialog with the West and asked foreign powers to respect Iran in its negotiations.
“If you seek a suitable answer, speak to Iran through the language of respect, not through the language of sanctions,” he said in remarks broadcast live by Iranian state television.
“We will initiate the path with detente, creating mutual trust and constructive interaction. I say this frankly that Iran has never been bent on war with the world,” he added.
Rouhani also revealed his desired cabinet lineup. It includes Mohammad Javad Zarif, a diplomat at Iran’s UN Mission in New York for five years, as foreign minister, and ex-oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, nominated to return to his former post.
The cabinet must still be reviewed by the conservative-dominated parliament and then be given the final seal of approval by the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
US calls for ‘substantive engagement’
Responding to Rouhani’s inauguration, the United States said it was prepared to work with the new government to resolve the standoff on Iran’s nuclear program if the Islamic Republic showed a willingness to confront international concerns in earnest.
“Should this new government choose to engage substantively and seriously to meet its international obligations and find a peaceful solution to this issue, it will find a willing partner in the United States,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.
Many Western countries suspect Tehran of developing nuclear weapons under the cover of a civil nuclear program, something Iran has always denied.
Approval from Khamenei
On Saturday, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, gave his official approval for Rouhani to assume office as president.
“There is a clear message in electing a competent individual with more than three decades of service to the (Islamic Republic’s) establishment,” Khamenei said during the ceremony, which was broadcast live on television.
“The message is of loyalty to the (Islamic) revolution, hope in the establishment … and trust in individuals determined to add to its success.” he added.
hc/tj (Reuters, AFP, AP)