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Rouhani Receives Khatami’s Support, Hints of Opening up to Trump | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A supporter of presidential candidate Hassan Rouhani holds up his portrait during a campaign rally in Tehran on Saturday. Photograph: Atta Kenare/AFP/

London- Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami announced on Sunday his support for the re-election of President Hassan Rouhani, who seeks to win a second presidential term during next Friday’s elections.

In a video message released on social media, Khatami said: “Rouhani’s government made great accomplishments, despite the limitations, the problems and the high expectations.”

He added: “We should all vote for Rouhani for the freedom of thought, the reasonable dialogue, the respect of law, the advocate of civil rights, and the implementation of social and economic justice.”

Khatami also praised Rouhani’s administration for inking the nuclear agreement with world powers that resulted in lifting sanctions against Iran.

The former president also said that under Rouhani’s term, Iran has resolved several problems, adding: “We have started on a path with Rouhani and we have come half way. We have resolved some problems and bigger problems remain for us to resolve on this difficult path with him.”

Although Rouhani was harshly criticized by hardliners for failing to address the country’s economic woes, Khatami did not fall short from defending the administration of Rouhani in controlling “inflation and economic downturns.”

The spiritual leader of Iran’s reformists said inflation had surpassed 40 percent in 2013, but later dropped to 9.5 percent during Rouhani’s rule.

The promises of Rouhani’s opponents are “empty and baseless,” Khatami said, adding that those economic assurances would create a deep crisis, if implemented.

For his part, Rouhani said on Sunday during a speech delivered from Isfahan’s historic Naqsh-e Jahan square, that in case he won the presidential elections, he plans to cooperate with the international community and seek to lift the non-nuclear sanctions imposed on Iran, in a hint that the Iranian president plans to open a direct dialogue with the administration of US President Donald Trump.