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Iranian President Seeks Second Term | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference near the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

London- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani decided to run for another term during the presidential elections expected on May 19, one of his top aides said on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Rouhani criticized his domestic opponents, without naming them, for rejecting that Iran deals with the rest of the world.

Speaking on Sunday at the 1st National Forum on Health in Tehran, Rouhani said that for some people, confronting the international community is beneficial, adding that it was a wrong idea that security and health conditions would improve if the country restricted interaction with the world.

“We are steadfast in our principles and we don’t compromise on them, but we should talk to the world, engage and cooperate with it,” said Rouhani.

In 2015, Rouhani made a deal with world powers on shortening Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions and was open to improving relations with the West.

During his speech Sunday, the Iranian president also lashed out at his hardline critics of wanting to deprive Iranians of the basic joys of life. “Soon it’s the (Iranian) New Year, so let the people have some joy,” said Rouhani in a speech carried live on state television.

“How come crying a lot is halal (allowed under Islam) and if we laugh it’s haram (banned),” he said. “One must not kill people’s hope on the future of the country and the state by lying. To solve issues, we need to congregate and join hands.”

Rouhani’s comments came as his vice president for parliamentary affairs Hosseinali Amiri said the president decided to run for re-election.

“In recent weeks, Mr. Rouhani has reached the conclusion to take part in the presidential election,” Amiri said.

Amiri’s assertions came a few days after media reports saying Rouhani received the green light from Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei to run for the elections.

On Sunday, Rouhani also accused some people in the country of suffering from “political Alzheimer’s,” and said his cabinet had locally made several achievements.

Iran’s 12th presidential elections will be held in May.