News / Middle East

    Rouhani Takes Office as Iran's 7th President

    Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani (File Photo)Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani (File Photo)
    x
    Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani (File Photo)
    Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani (File Photo)
    VOA News
    Moderate Muslim cleric Hassan Rouhani has taken office as Iran's seventh president, succeeding Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the country's highest elected official.

    Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, endorsed and confirmed Rouhani's presidency Saturday at a formal ceremony broadcast throughout Iran and abroad. The president's public inauguration before parliament takes place on Sunday.

    Rouhani, trained as a lawyer in addition to religious studies he began as a teenager, has held senior political posts in Iran for decades, including leading the nation's team of nuclear negotiators for over 15 years (1989-2005).

    In his first speech as president, Rouhani vowed to work to lift Western sanctions on Iran. He said the goal of these penalties was to isolate Iran and push the country towards chaos.

    The United Nations Security Council has imposed sanctions on Iran in an effort to pressure it to end its nuclear program. Several countries, including the United States, have imposed their own additional measures.

    Rouhani also said Iran's "detractors" and "enemies" have been trying to keep the country in full isolation, to widen the gap between the government and the people. However, he said, strong public participation in the presidential election in June "foiled" this alleged plot.

    The 64-year-old cleric will have to deal with huge challenges, including a sagging economy and the outside world's predominantly negative view of Iran's controversial nuclear policies.

    The president is Iran's head of government. Iran's supreme leader is the chief of state and gives final approval for major policy decisions.

    Even before Rouhani took over from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, controversy swirled Friday over disputed press accounts of remarks in which Rouhani referred to Israel.

    The Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) and other Iranian news media quoted Rouhani as calling Israel a "wound ... on the body of the Muslim world" that needs to be "removed." International news agencies also carried the remarks, which were quickly condemned by Israel.

    Later Friday, however, Iranian state television said the initial accounts of what Rouhani said were distorted, and it aired video of him telling reporters that Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories "is like an old wound in the body of Islamic society." He did not broadly refer to the existence of the state of Israel.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    August 03, 2013 11:26 AM
    Referring to Rouhani as moderate leaves much sour taste in the mouth. When he started with seeing Israel's Palestine relationship in bad light points to the usual Iranian and Arab islamist rhetoric against Israel; in other words his regime is going to spend a lot of time along the same line toed by his predecessor trying to garner all of Arabs and islamic world against Israel rather than make peace. He started his presidential assumption of office by seeing Iran's "detractors" and "enemies", thus leaving the world to wonder whom he may be referring to in those terms. It does seem there is more to expect than just a "moderate" islamist who's going to mesmerize the international community with a change of jingle from his predecessor's war drumming.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora