Hassan Rohani 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi RH/CJF/AA)
DUBAI - Iran's president-elect Hassan Rouhani said on
Saturday he would appoint ministers from across its political spectrum as
Iranian voters had chosen a path of moderation over extremism.
victory in the June 14 vote has lifted hopes of a thaw in Iran's antagonistic
relations with the West that might create openings for defusing its nuclear
dispute with world powers. Rouhani has pledged a more conciliatory approach than
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, under whose belligerent presidency the Islamic Republic
drew ever more punishing international sanctions.
Rouhani's pledge of an
inclusive cabinet could reassure conservative hardliners who look askance at the
endorsement he was granted by reformists in the election.
reformists will hope to regain some political influence - with the aim of easing
repression at home and Iran's isolation abroad - after being sidelined under
Ahmadinejad, who by law could not run for a third consecutive term.
future government must operate in the framework of moderation ...(and it) must
avoid extremism, and this message is for everyone," Rouhani, a former chief
nuclear negotiator, said in a speech carried live on state
"The next cabinet will be trans-factional ... This government
is not obligated to any party or faction, and will work to choose the most
qualified people from all sides and factions, under conditions of moderation and
temperance." Analysts say Rouhani, a mid-ranking Shi'ite Muslim cleric who has
held sensitive security posts since the 1980s, enjoys an insider status and
close relationship with theocratic Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and
may be able to build bridges between factions to yield reforms.
Khamenei will retain the final say on policies that most concern world powers,
including Iran's nuclear program and its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad against rebels trying to overthrow him.
Rouhani also urged moderation in Iranian policies towards the rest of the world
and called for a balance between "realism" and pursuing the ideals of the
"Moderation in foreign policy is neither submission nor
antagonism, neither passivity nor confrontation. Moderation is effective and
constructive interaction with the world," he said.
"The Islamic Republic
of Iran, as a major regional power or the biggest regional power..., must play
its role and for this we need moderation." Western powers suspect Iran of
seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability, which Tehran denies. The
Islamic Republic is now languishing under increasingly tough sanctions limiting
its oil sales, a crucial source of revenue, obstructing its foreign trade and
stoking higher inflation and unemployment.
Iran's friends and foes
indicated shortly after Rouhani's election triumph they did not believe it would
bring fundamental change in Iranian foreign policy.
Tehran is at
loggerheads with Western powers on a range of foreign policy issues including
its shadowy nuclear program and its support for Syria's Assad, the Lebanese
Shi'ite militant movement Hezbollah and the Palestinian Islamist group
U.S.-allied Gulf Arab countries have also accused Iran of
interfering in their affairs, though Tehran denies trying to subvert Saudi
Arabia and its wealthy Gulf neighbors.
Rouhani, who will take office in
early August, said he was dedicated to "mutual relaxation of tensions" with