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Hasan Rowhani (file picture) Ebrahim Noroozi/AP/Press Association Images
Middle East

Rowhani takes power in Iran with pledge to lift economy

The moderate cleric is facing serious challenges as he begins his four year term. His public inauguration will take place tomorrow.

MODERATE CLERIC HASSAN Rowhani assumed Iran’s presidency today, promising to work to lift punishing international sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic over its controversial nuclear programme.

Rowhani, 64, officially became the Islamic republic’s seventh president after receiving a formal endorsement from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at a Tehran ceremony.

His public inauguration will take place tomorrow when he takes the oath of office in parliament, which according to media reports will be attended by ten regional presidents and other high-ranking foreign officials.

Rowhani begins his four-year term as Iran is facing grave challenges over its ailing economy and international isolation due to the controversial policies of his firebrand predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“The trajectory of my government will be saving Iran’s economy and (establishing) constructive engagement with the world,” Rowhani said in an address broadcast live on state television.

My government “will take fundamental steps in elevating Iran’s position based on national interest and lifting of the oppressive sanctions,” he said.

The country needs a national determination to keep its distance from extremism and needs to concentrate on the rule of law.

At the ceremony in a religious hall packed with top military and government officials, as well as foreign ambassadors, Khamenei heaped praise on Rowhani and said his election had delivered a “clear message” to the world.

“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 in a statement.

“The message is of loyalty to the (Islamic) revolution, hope in the establishment … and trust in individuals determined to add to its success and reduce problems” in Iran, he added.

Economic challenges

Sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union on Iran over its nuclear activities have inflicted a painful blow to the economy.

Over the past two years the sanctions have sent inflation soaring to more than 45 percent, while the rial lost nearly 70 percent of its value against the dollar and created double-digit unemployment.

Western powers and Israel suspect Iran is developing a nuclear weapons but Tehran insists its activities are merely peaceful.

Ahmadinejad has been accused by his critics of mismanaging vast oil money.


Rowhani, a former nuclear negotiator, has said that the Iranians expect “stability in all fields, and the removing of all concerns and bottlenecks that Iran faces.”

He did not elaborate but warned that “satisfying the demands of the people… would not happen at once.”

His comments were echoed by Khamenei, who makes final calls on all crucial state matters including Iran’s nuclear programme.

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