News / Middle East

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

    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.
    VOA News
    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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    by: Anonymous
    June 18, 2013 12:45 PM
    We are not living in the Middle Ages to have a priest or a clergy as president , to rule on our nation. we are living in the 21th Century ! we have already experienced all of them , either fundamentalists or reformists.... We need a change !

    by: human
    June 17, 2013 3:20 PM
    in iran syed Alli Khamenei is the highrest person who can say exactly about relationship with other countries.

    by: David from: Sychelles
    June 17, 2013 3:05 PM
    There would definitely be remarkable changes in interior affairs. Ahmadinejad was a hardliner who wanted to solve issues by bullying not by logical measures. Many competent university professors were fired during his tenure because he couldn't tolerate his critics. Rowhani is much more wiser and very seasoned and logical. Although there are things he won't be able to change because of supreme Leader's Authority. As someone who has been to Iran and familiar with their culture I'm sure the majority of Iranians do want freedom, but not all kinds of American freedom such as gay and lesbian marriage. It's disgusting for them

    by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
    June 17, 2013 1:36 PM
    Not likely that any changes will occur, because the president is a tool of the supreme council headed by ayat.. Khameni. On the contrary, all are committed to their programs, as expressed during the election. The fact that they are fully acknowledging that they are involved in Syria, and sending additional forces, just shows the contempt they have for the West's deterrent....

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    June 17, 2013 10:51 AM
    Think it's about the use of words and language of communication, not much change expected. After all the Rowhani is a candidate of the Khamenei who calls all the shots. Until he spoke up, new era for Iran seemed to mean to drop the nuclear ambition, but after he spoke, the real meaning showed that it was only a change of approach and the countenance during discussion. Wao, doesn't yet seem the uhuru.

    Let's see if he will be something else when the game begins. Anything short of stopping the blind diplomacy in the Middle East; anything short of revamping diplomacy with the West and civilized society; anything linkage to state support of terrorism; anything that makes Iran seek dominance in the Arab world; Iran should weigh its stand on these issues and turn a new leaf. Otherwise it remains new wine in old wineskin. Who really is in charge of the interior ministry that imprisoned people without charge? Iranians want to be free like Americans, will the new era assure the ordinary citizen in Iran of that?

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