(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
DUBAI - President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday accused his hardline critics of wanting to deprive Iranians of the basic joys of life and isolate the country, as an aide said he had decided to run for a second term, state media reported.
Iran will hold a presidential election on May 19, but Rouhani, a moderate who is eligible to seek a second four-year term, has stopped short of saying he would run to push ahead with reforms resisted by powerful hardliners.
"Soon it's the (Iranian) New Year, so let the people have some joy," Rouhani, who has advocated greater social freedoms, said in a speech carried live on state television.
"How come crying a lot is halal (allowed under Islam) and if we laugh it's haram (banned)," Rouhani said, in an apparent reference to hardliners who control the police and security bodies and promote an austere interpretation of Islam.