title: 'President Hassan Rowhani takes oath of office' published: true publish_date: '31-08-2016 14:56' taxonomy: category:

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    Iran's new moderate President Hassan Rowhani took the oath before parliament on Sunday, calling for western sanctions to be dropped and more respect for his country. VoR'sTim Ecott spoke to Iranian journalist and author Afshin Rattansi about Rowhani the man and his likely impact on international relations. Download (Text by Voice of Russia, AFP) Rowhani takes over from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose policies in two turbulent four-year terms left Iran isolated internationally and struggling economically. "This great nation has voted yes to moderation and reason and the work of this government will be based on this cornerstone,"he vowed in his inaugural speech. Call to West to respect "The only path to interact with Iran is through negotiations on equal grounds, reciprocal trust-building, mutual respect and reducing hostilities," Rowhani said. "If you want a proper answer, do not speak with Iran with the language of sanctions but with the language of respect,"he said, adding Iran would "not surrender to sanctions, nor be threatened with war." He was referring to years of unsuccessful negotiations with the so-called P5+1 group of the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany over Iran's nuclear activities, which the world powers suspect is aimed at military objectives despite Iranian denials. Sanctions The 64-year-old cleric formally took office on Saturday at a ceremony in which he received the endorsement of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, pledging to work to ease crippling Western sanctions. But the supreme leader Khamenei retains the final say on all strategic issues, including the nuclear talks. Rowhani begins his four-year term with Iran facing tough EU and US sanctions against its oil and banking sectors that have sent the value of the rial plummeting and inflation soaring. Commitment to all citizens Promising to tackle corruption and defend national interests over factional ones, he said: "the government of wisdom and hope is committed to all citizens." Rowhani addressed several issues in his speech which he said were of concern to the Iranian people, including "to live better" in a world where they are no longer isolated. "The people want to live better, to have dignity, and enjoy a stable life. They want to recapture their deserving position among nations,"Rowhani told the parliament. Sunday's swearing-in ceremony was attended by some nine regional leaders, marking the first time the Islamic republic extended invitations to all countries, except the United States. Officially Rowhani has two weeks from Sunday to name his cabinet, and the conservative-dominated parliament then has 10 days to review his nominations. But Iranian media said that he could unveil his cabinet on Sunday and that MPs could start the confirmation process within a week. They reported that he was likely to name a government dominated by western-educated technocrats. (Voice of Russia, AFP)

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