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Published: Sunday, 8/4/2013

New Iran leader takes office

Rouhani fills cabinet with moderates; confirmations await

NEW YORK TIMES
Hasan Rouhani was sworn in as Iran’s president during a ceremony in parliament on Sunday, after which he presented a new cabinet dominated by technocrats who had previously served under a moderate former president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. The cabinet must still be confirmed by parliament. Hasan Rouhani was sworn in as Iran’s president during a ceremony in parliament on Sunday, after which he presented a new cabinet dominated by technocrats who had previously served under a moderate former president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. The cabinet must still be confirmed by parliament.
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TEHRAN — Hasan Rouhani was sworn in as Iran’s president during a ceremony in parliament on Sunday, after which he presented a new cabinet dominated by technocrats who had previously served under a moderate former president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

The cabinet must still be confirmed by parliament.

“My government will be one of foresight and hope,” Mr. Rouhani said in a speech after his swearing-in ceremony, adding that his election showed that the Iranian people want “to live free,” and “are longing for change and progress, they want relief from poverty and discrimination.”

He faces many problems, including rampant inflation, diminishing revenues and foreign reserves, possible food shortages, and new United States sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear program.

By choosing to stock his cabinet with old hands from the Rafsanjani years, Mr. Rouhani appeared to be looking to a more moderate past to solve current problems and plan for the future, analysts said.

He also showed that the former president would wield considerable influence in the new government.

“Most key ministers have served under Hashemi Rafsanjani,” said Nader Karimi Joni, a political analyst who has been critical of Iran’s leaders. “This shows his clear involvement.”

Mr. Rafsanjani, 78, wanted to run for a new term as president, but he was barred by the country’s Guardian Council, which said he was too old.

Hinting that he was open to talks with the West, Mr. Rouhani emphasized that sanctions and even war would not change the minds of Iran’s leaders regarding the nuclear program.

“To have interactions with Iran, there should be talks based on an equal position, building mutual trust and respect, and reducing enmity,” Mr. Rouhani said.

The White House released a statement Sunday hailing the arrival of Mr. Rouhani.



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