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President-elect receives religious approval to take office | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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TEHRAN,(AP)- President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad received religious approval to take office in a ceremony presided over by Iran”s supreme leader on Wednesday.

Ahmadinejad, the former mayor of Tehran who won the June elections amid allegations of unfair practices, pledged to work for social justice and the alleviation of poverty in his term, which will officially begin after his swearing-in on Saturday.

&#34The deprived people and the poor people will be the first priority on my agenda,&#34 Ahmadinejad told a crowd of hundreds of clerics, legislators and government officials in a Tehran Islamic institution. Among the audience was outgoing President Mohammad Khatami and the man Ahmadinejad defeated in the second-round run-off, former President Hashemi Rafsanjani.

In the short ceremony, the country”s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei conferred on Ahmadinejad the religious authority to be president. The president-elect, who was backed by many hard-line clerics during the polls, said he would fulfill his electoral promises with the help of God and &#34under the guidance of the supreme leader.&#34