The election of Hassan Rouhani as the new president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, rises hopes for a settlement in the nuclear weapons issue and restoration of relations with the West.
Before the negotiations to form a government in Iran, 55 political prisoners sent a letter to the US President Barack Obama pointing out the promises the American president gave before the last elections. Defining Hasan Rouhani’s term as an opportunity, the letter urges Washington not to miss this opportunity for reconciliation. Signatories of the letter includes senior figures of the Green Movement, the largest opposition group in Iran formed before the general elections in 2009, such as former head of Security and Foreign Relations Commission of the Iranian Parliament Mohsin Mir Damadi, former Iranian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohsin Emir Zadeh, former Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs Mustafa Tajzadeh, former President Hashimi Rafsanjani’s daughter Faize Rafsanjani and Ali Reza Behecti, who was the chief adviser to Mir Hussein Mossavi, the Green Movement’s presidential candidate who has been under house arrest for the last four years.
The letter underlines the fear that the dispute between the US and Iran would present the latter with a ‘dark future’, blaming “US followed ill-advised policies regarding the Iranian nuclear program during the time of Mohammad Khatami, a former Iranian president known for his moderate stance towards the West. It demands that the US temporarily suspends the sanctions as a show of good-will ahead of prospective nuclear negotiations.
Rouhani viewed as a chance for moderation
Representatives from 55 countries attended Rouhani’s inauguration ceremony which was closely monitored by the international media. One of the early statements about Rouhani’s term in Iran came from the US. The White House commented on Rouhani’s moderate statements in his speech in the ceremony, stating that his election is a chance to alleviate concerns regarding the nuclear crisis.
"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 program," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement. The EU also applauded Rouhani’s positive stance about sustainable dialogue with the international community and called the new Tehran administration back to the negotiation table.
EU spokesman Michael Mann said that the EU's Catherine Ashton congratulated Iran's newly sworn-in President Hassan Rouhani and urged him to use his strong mandate, "to seek a swift resolution to the (the international community's) serious concerns about Iran's nuclear activities". Rouhani opened a door for negotiation when he stated “If you want to get a response from Iran, you should give up the language of sanctions and adopt the language of respect.”
Iranian warning to Egyptian Army
After the inauguration ceremony, Rouhani geared up his efforts to form a government in order to win a vote of confidence from the Iranian parliament. Rouhani defended his cabinet in his address to the parliament ahead of the confidence vote, saying he puts priority on professionalism while selecting ministers. The Iranian president added that he is considering granting more places for minority members and women. Rouhani was criticized for not having any Sunni members or women among his ministers.
Whilst explaining the missions of the government, Rouhani touched upon protecting the fundamental rights and privacy of citizens, as well as the need to struggle against high inflation. Economic problems are seen as the main obstacle for the new Iranian government.
Rouhani also made a distinction regarding his political attitude, saying his government is neither reformist nor conservative, but moderate. Having popular support from reformist voters, Rouhani is known as a moderate conservative. When a reformist politician and candidate for the oil ministry Bijen Zengene, was about to be vetoed by the parliament, Rouhani gave a speech to show his support and Zengene won the vote of confidence.
During the vote of confidence session, the newly-elected president warned the Egyptian military about the killings of protestors in peaceful demonstrations calling for the release of the country’s first elected president Mohammed Morsi, saying “We are facing tyrannous acts in foreign policy and a crisis in the region. I extend my condolences to the Egyptian people. I share their sufferings in the face of brutality against them. I warned the Egyptian army not to put pressure on the great Egyptian people who demand freedom. Egypt’s great people are pro-freedom. They should not be pressured. The people’s road is Islam and the world should respect the Egyptians’ demands.”
Kuzey News AgencyGüncelleme Tarihi: 26 Ağustos 2013, 16:45