Iranian parliament endorses Rouhani's diplomatic outreach

By REUTERS
October 2, 2013 10:03

Despite parliament endorsement, Ayatollah Khamenei has yet to publicly comment on Rouhani's trip.

2 minute read.



Iran's parliament

Iran's parliament 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi)

DUBAI - Iran's parliament, dominated by conservatives, strongly endorsed President Hassan Rouhani's diplomatic bid to break down mistrust at the United Nations in New York last week, which ended with an historic phone call with US President Barack Obama, Iranian media said.

The backing from the assembly, controlled by political factions deeply loyal to Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is a further sign that Rouhani has the backing of the Iranian establishment.

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Khamenei, the most powerful figure in Iran, has yet to publicly comment on Rouhani's trip.

In the first joint meeting between president and parliament, Rouhani briefed parliamentarians on his trip to New York, including discussions on Iran's nuclear dispute with the West and regional relations, the student news agency ISNA said late on Tuesday.

Two hundred and thirty parliamentarians, out of the total of 290, signed a statement expressing their support of Rouhani for presenting the image of a "powerful and peace-seeking Iran which seeks talks and interaction for the settlement of regional and international issues," Fars news agency said.

Parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani praised Rouhani's address to the UN General Assembly, ISNA said. But Larijani, a champion of the conservative establishment, did not mention Rouhani's phone call with Obama.

The head of the powerful Revolutionary Guards said on Monday the call had been premature, a signal of unease and the possible beginning of resistance to the relative moderate Rouhani from Iranian hardliners.

Rouhani was met with a mixed response upon his return to Tehran from the UN General Assembly. While hundreds cheered, hardliners greeted Rouhani by pelting his convoy with eggs and chanting "Death to America" and "Death to Israel."

While Rouhani's visit to New York has boosted hopes of a diplomatic breakthrough in talks to resolve the 10-year-old dispute over Iran's nuclear program, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu dismissed it on Tuesday as a ruse concocted by a "wolf in sheep's clothing".

The United States, Israel and other countries accuse Iran of using its nuclear program as a veil for efforts to try to develop the capability to produce weapons. Iran says the program is for peaceful energy purposes only.

The next round of nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers is set to take place in Geneva in two weeks.


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