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Iran's President-Elect Rowhani Promises 'New Era'

  • VOA News

Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani speaks with the media during a news conference in Tehran, June 17, 2013.

Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani speaks with the media during a news conference in Tehran, June 17, 2013.

Iran's newly elected president is promising to follow a path of moderation, saying his victory signals a new era for the Iranian people.

Moderate cleric Hassan Rowhani spoke during a televised news conference Monday, his first since his surprise win in Friday's presidential election.

Rowhani said he would "follow the path of moderation and justice, not extremism.'' He also promised to revive what he called constructive interaction with the rest of the world and to help fix Iran's faltering economy.

"There is an opportunity now, thanks to the active participation and support of the [Iranian] people: their participation [in the election] and their votes has created an opportunity. I hope that all countries take advantage of this opportunity, because this opportunity is beneficial from the point of view of mutual national interests. If one looks at the world today, we see tensions and stresses in the economic and political arenas across the world as well as in the [Middle East] region. Therefore relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and its new government will not only be beneficial for the Iranian nation, but also for the countries in the region and the wider world.''

Hassan Rowhani

  • 64 years old
  • Elected president with slightly more than 50% of the vote
  • Member of the Expediency Discernment Council
  • Served as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council from 1989-2005
  • Member of parliament from 1980-2000
  • Member of the Assembly of Experts since 1999
  • Served as Iran's chief nuclear negotiator before Saeed Jalili
When asked about relations with the United States, Rowhani said the issue is complicated, calling it "an old wound that needs to be healed."

The United States and Western allies suspect Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons and have helped to implement several rounds of sanctions against Iran, which have battered the country's economy. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

"We will look at taking two specifics to allow us to remove and resolve the issue of sanctions [against Iran]," Rowhani said. "The first is to take the path towards increased transparency [over Iran's nuclear program]. Of course our nuclear programs are totally transparent in nature. But we are ready to show more transparency and to show the world that Iran's nuclear work complies fully with the international framework. Secondly, we will promote the growth of mutual trust between Iran and other nations. Wherever this mutual trust is under threat, we will make efforts to strengthen this mutual trust. In my view, the way to end the sanctions regime [against Iran] is through mutual trust and greater transparency within the framework of international rules and regulations.''

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton Monday said she was committed to working with Iran's newly elected president to find a diplomatic solution.

During the news conference, Rowhani was also asked about the conflict in Syria. He warned against foreign intervention, saying the crisis must be resolved by the Syrian people

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