Iranian President Rouhani takes oath of office before parliament

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 04, 2013 8:40 AM

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took the oath of office before parliament in Tehran on Sunday and was expected later in the day to name a cabinet he said would be chosen from figures across the political spectrum.

"In the presence of the holy Koran and before the nation, I swear to the omnipotent God to safeguard the official religion of the country and the Islamic Republic as well as the country's constitution," he told parliament and foreign dignitaries in a ceremony broadcast live on state television.

Rouhani, elected with a wide margin over conservative rivals in elections in June, has pledged to pursue less confrontational policies abroad in order to ease international sanctions on Iran's economy over its disputed nuclear program.

But Rouhani is very much an insider in the Islamic Republic, having served in senior military and security roles since shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

As well as pressure from the West, Rouhani faces the huge task of trying to fix an economy damaged by sanctions and the profligacy of the previous government.

He also has to try to balance the demands of hardliners who dominate parliament and the officially sidelined reformists whose support helped him win the election.

(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati and Marcus George; Writing by Jon Hemming; Editing by Andrew Roche)