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Rouhani welcomed by populace and officials - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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 A supporter of newly elected President Hassan Rowhani as holds a poster depicting him during street festivities  after the official announcement of his victory, in Tehran, Iran, 15 June 2013 (EPA/ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH)

A supporter of newly elected President Hassan Rowhani as holds a poster depicting him during street festivities after the official announcement of his victory, in Tehran, Iran, 15 June 2013 (EPA/ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—The victory of moderate Hassan Rouhani in Iran’s presidential poll last week has been met with widespread rejoicing among the country’s reformists.

After the first-round victory of Rouhani on Friday, thousands of people in cities and small towns took to streets to cheer, chant and clap and hold street festivities to celebrate his victory. Many chanted pro-Rouhani and pro-reformist slogans, including “Long live reform! Long live Rouhani!”, “Ahmadi, bye bye!” referring to outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and also “My martyred brother, I took your vote back,” a reference to the unrest following the disputed presidential election in 2009 in which many protesters were arrested and some killed.

The Iranian authorities have also been quick to welcome the new president, despite Rouhani’s sweeping first-round victory over more conservative candidates reportedly favored by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and his closest supporters.

Ayatollah Khamenei congratulated Hassan Rohani on his victory in a message to the nation on Saturday. He said the large turnout, estimated to be around 72%, was as an example of the strong bond between Iranians and the Islamic establishment and thanked the people for their participation in presidential as well as city and village council elections.

“The real winner of yesterday’s election is the great Iranian nation which . . . prudently and tactfully confronted the war of nerves launched by the lackeys of [global] hegemony. The president-elect is the president of all Iranians, now after the election is over cooperation and friendship should replace the rivalry of the campaign days,” he added.

Incumbent Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also congratulated Rouhani for his victory in Iran’s 11th presidential election.

“I have always deeply believed in the vast and endless capacities of the Iranian nation for development. I believe that all peaks of glory can be conquered by believing and trusting in the Iranian nation and by respecting different interests and tastes,” Ahmadinejad said in a statement on Saturday.

The heads of the legislative and judicial branches of Iran’s government were also swift to offer their congratulations.

The speaker of the Iranian parliament Ali Larijani met with Rouhani on Sunday, and said that he hoped the election of a new president would mean new efforts to tackle Iran’s economic problems.

He said: “Such importance would be a valuable support for improving the country’s situation, particularly for resolving problems such as unemployment and high prices.”

Larijani added stated that the Majlis [the Iranian parliament] would cooperate with Rouhani and his cabinet to move the country forward.

Larijani’s brother, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, the head of the Iranian judiciary, also welcomed the election of Rouahni, saying on Sunday that it represented a victory for the country, the supreme leader and the country at large.

Meanwhile, the influential Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), seen by many as the bulwark of the existing conservative-dominated political system, has also announced it was ready to fully cooperate with the president-elect.

In an official IRGC statement released on Sunday, the organization congratulated Ayatollah Khamenei, the noble nation of Iran, and Rouhani on the “great and momentous victory.”

The IRGC stated it was “all-out prepared to interact and cooperate with the next administration within the framework of the assigned legal responsibilities and missions.”

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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