News / Middle East

President-Elect Rowhani: A Moderate Voice for Iran

Iranian presidential candidate Hasan Rowhani, a former Iranian nuclear negotiator, waves, from his bus, during his campaign tour to the western city of Sanandaj, Iran, June 10, 2013.
Iranian presidential candidate Hasan Rowhani, a former Iranian nuclear negotiator, waves, from his bus, during his campaign tour to the western city of Sanandaj, Iran, June 10, 2013.
VOA News
Iran's next president, Hassan Rowhani, is a moderate cleric and former chief nuclear negotiator who has vowed to improve the nation's relationship with the international community.

Rowhani headed Iran's nuclear negotiating team from 2003 to 2005, under reformist president Mohammad Khatami. During that time, Rowhani oversaw a moratorium on uranium enrichment, which eased Western pressure over Iran's nuclear program -- kept secret until 2002.

In contrast to current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the 64-year-old Rowhani has promised a less confrontational approach to world affairs, including talks on Iran's disputed nuclear program. Though he has said there will be "no surrender" to Western demands, he has vowed to pursue "constructive interaction with the world," including the lifting of international sanctions that have hammered the Iranian economy.

The only cleric of the six candidates in Friday's presidential election, Rowhani won the votes of reformists and moderates alike. He was helped in part by the earlier withdrawal of the only other moderate in the race -- Khatami's reformist first vice president, Mohammad Reza Aref.

Endorsements by Khatami and his moderate predecessor and Ahmadinejad rival, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, also boosted Rowhani's candidacy. Their support and his promotion of policies such as more rights for women made him a favorite among those seeking change in the country.

Rowhani also maintains a close relationship with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say in all major policy decisions.

Born in 1948 in the Iranian city of Sorkheh, Rowhani received his doctorate in law from Scotland's Glasgow Caledonian University.

Having begun religious studies as a teenager, he was a dedicated supporter of the founder of the Islamic republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, even before the 1979 revolution.

He served in the Iranian government for decades after that -- as a member of parliament from 1980 to 2000 and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council from 1989 to 2005. Since 1999, he has been a member of the Assembly of Experts -- a council of clerics that selects the supreme leader. Upon his election as president, he was also serving on the Expediency Discernment Council, an advisory body for the supreme leader, and headed its Center for Strategic Research.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jane Monheit Christmas Speciali
X
December 22, 2014 8:15 PM
Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Trade Talks Could Heat Up in 2015

With boosting trade a top priority for the Obama administration, 2015 may be the year that an agreement is finally reached on the Trans Pacific Partnership. But the trade deal, which is intended to boost trade between 12 Pacific countries, faces opposition as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school

All About America

AppleAndroid