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Hassan Rouhani becomes Iran’s president - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In this picture released by the official website of the Iranian supreme leader's office, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, center with black turban, gives his official seal of approval to president-elect Hassan Rouhani, in an official endorsement ceremony, in Tehran, Iran, on Saturday, August 3, 2013. Parliament speaker Ali Larijani, right, head of the Expediency Council Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, second right, judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani, left, secretary of Guardian Council Ahmad Jannati, second left, and outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, third left, attend the ceremony. An unidentified official of the supreme leader's office stands at rear center. A portrait of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini hangs in background. (AP Photo/Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader)

In this picture released by the official website of the Iranian supreme leader’s office, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, center with black turban, gives his official seal of approval to president-elect Hassan Rouhani, in an official endorsement ceremony, in Tehran, Iran, on Saturday, August 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Today, Saturday, August 3, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei endorsed Hassan Rouhani’s presidency in a ceremony attended by high-ranking officials in Tehran.

In his endorsement decree, Ayatollah Khamenei praised the Iranian nation’s participation in the election that resulted the selection of Rouhani, whom he described as a veteran servant of the Islamic republic for more than 30 years.

The decree states that: “Now that the nation has elected an experienced, knowledgeable and devoted person to manage the country, in compliance with the people’s choice and with my congratulations, I assign you to be the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. “

According to Article 110 of Iranian Constitution, the supreme leader has the right and responsibility to endorse the president-elect.

In previous endorsement ceremonies, the former president would read the decree. This time, however, outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was not given the chance to speak. He merely handed the decree to the supreme leader and then sat down.

President Rouhani will take the oath of office tomorrow, one day after the endorsement ceremony. The oath requires him to implement the Iranian constitution and formally assume responsibility as the president of the country. The ceremony is expected to be attended by foreign heads of states and delegations that have traveled to Tehran.

In a balanced and carefully crafted statement, President Rouhani acknowledged the enormous task given him and gave his vow to the Iranian people to fulfill his mission with utmost honesty and devotion.

Rouhani attributed his victory to the people’s desire for change, and expressed his belief that his campaign manifesto acknowledged this more than did his competitors’ pledges. He lambasted political extremism in all fields, and promised to bring the country back to rationality and good governance.

“This election has created a huge social capital that is essential to deter threats as well as to produce new opportunities for progress,” the Iranian president said.

Rouhani stressed that dealing with the economic pressure on ordinary Iranians is his government’s foremost domestic priority, but reaffirmed his desire to improve Iran’s international standing through constructive policies.

In closing remarks at today’s ceremony, Ayatollah Khamenei offered his congratulations to Rouhani and urged all state officials, including members of the legislative and judicial branches, to extend their support to the new president.

Iran’s supreme leader reminded the people that they cannot expect that all the problems of country to be solved instantly and encouraged everyone to be patient.

In a direct reference to Rouhani’s determination to resolve Iran’s foreign policy issues, Ayatollah Khamenei expressed his approval of “rational and reasonable foreign policy,” but repeated his skepticism of “the enemy’s willingness and honesty to appreciate logical language.”

According to Iranian news agencies, Ahmadinejad handed the presidential headquarters over to President Rouhani yesterday evening.

In addition, the website of the Iranian Presidency was also changed to show Hassan Rouhani’s picture and biography. It also appears that archived data has been removed.

President Rouhani now has two weeks to introduce his proposed cabinet ministers to the parliament, where they will face a vote of confidence. It is understood that after nearly two months of tense negotiation, the incoming president intends to submit the names right after inauguration ceremony to be held in Tehran tomorrow.

The Iranian media has been reporting that a meeting to finalize the list of proposed ministers was held at the residence of former president Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafasnjani recently. Attendees at the meeting are said to have included Seyed Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of former supreme leader Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini, and former reformist president Seyed Mohammad Khatami.