TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's president lashed out at the country's hard-liners on Monday, accusing them of ignoring human rights, which he said are enshrined in the constitution.
Hassan Rouhani's remarks were apparently an attempt to appeal to the liberal-minded among the country's middle class ahead of Iran's May presidential elections.
Without naming names, Rouhani said in a televised speech that "some individuals do not like to hear about some of the articles" and prefer to "ignore" Chapter 3 of the constitution, which secures the rights of the people. That part of the charter was approved in 1979 and is meant to support social and individual freedoms.
Rouhani spoke at the launch of a book compiling 120 legal articles on rights-related laws, codes and regulations in Iran, entitled "Charter of Citizenship Rights." Rouhani's government has backed the project.
The Iranian president, who promised a more open society when he came to power in 2013, said the book was one of his "dreams" and acted as a "voice from Iran in response to some Western countries" that have criticized Tehran over rights abuses.
Rouhani said he would do his best to keep his election promises "to young people, women and minorities," until his last day of term next August. Rouhani is, however, expected to run again.
Iran's moderate conservatives and reformists, who won a majority in the parliamentary elections earlier this year, support Rouhani and Iran's landmark nuclear deal with world powers.
Still, hard-liners wield strong influence over domestic or foreign policies and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei remains the top decision-maker under the country's constitution.