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Profile: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani


FILE - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani listens to a news conference during his visit for the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Sept. 20, 2017.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who is frequently described as a relative moderate, was re-elected last year.

He is the seventh president of Iran and has served in that position since Aug. 3, 2013.

In 2013, Time magazine included the 69-year-old Rouhani in its list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

The long-time member of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's inner circle emerged a few years ago as an historic figure as he took action to normalize relations within Iran and in its interactions with the rest of the world.

After an easy re-election victory last year, Rouhani vowed to open Iran to foreign trade and investment while facing resistance from Iranian hardliners and renewed U.S. antipathy.

In 2015, he struck a deal with six global powers to restrict its disputed nuclear program in exchange for lifting financial and economic sanctions.

The lawyer, former diplomat and Islamic cleric expressed sympathy for peaceful protesters, who are concerned about living conditions amid high unemployment and 10-percent inflation.

Rouhani was born Hassan Feridon on Nov. 12, 1948, in Sorkheh, Iran. His family members were opponents of the Shah, which exposed him to political issues at an early age.

He studied religion as a youth and eventually adopted the surname Rouhani, which means "community of clerics."

After enrolling at the University of Tehran in 1969, he graduated three years later with a law degree. He earned a master's degree and Ph.D. from Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland in the 1990s.

As an undergraduate student, he traveled throughout Iran to express his opposition to Shaw and his support for the exiled cleric Ruhollah Khomeini.

Rouhani was forced out of the country in 1977, when he joined Khomeini in Paris and addressed students across Europe.

He returned to Iran after the 1979 Iranian Revolution to help Khomeini rebuild the government.

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