Iranian president sets out a new peace agenda
In an inauguration ceremony on Sunday, Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s new president, delivered a speech promising transparency, equal rights for women and moderation.
The 64-year-old president, who was elected in June, officially began his mandate after Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, acknowledged his electoral victory in a separate ceremony on Sunday.
During the official ceremony, held at the Iranian parliament in Tehran, Rouhani declared himself to be the president of every Iranian, not only of those who voted for him. Broadcast live on state television, Rouhani also named his cabinet members to the parliament.
He promised moderation, saying that his government’s priorities are dealing with poverty, corruption and discrimination. Concerning this, Rouhani insisted on the idea that the Iranian economy needs to be improved by reducing inflation and that the rate of unemployment needs to be lowered.
Promoting women’s rights is also on top of his agenda. Rouhani is said to have resolved to improve women’s quality of life in Iranian society, especially regarding gender equality.
According to Rouhani, people want change. “People want to live better, to have dignity as well as a stable life. They also want to recapture their deserving position among nations,” he said.
The swearing-in ceremony was attended by several presidents and prime ministers from neighbouring countries. It was the first time after Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution that highly-ranked foreign politicians have attended a ceremony at the Iranian parliament.
The White House has immediately made a statement regarding Rouhani’s installation, saying: “The inauguration of President Rouhani presents an opportunity for Iran to act quickly to resolve the international community’s deep concerns over Iran’s nuclear programme.”
The statement continued: “Should this new government choose to engage substantively and seriously to meet its international obligations and find a peaceful solution to this issue, it will find a willing partner in the United States.”
Senior British officials had also been invited to the ceremony. The UK, however, declined the invitation as it hasn’t had a diplomatic presence in Iran since the British embassy in Tehran was attacked in November 2011.