Iran’s Rowhani takes oath vowing to rescue economy

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Iran’s newly elected President Hassan Rowhani, who formally took office on Saturday promising to work towards easing crippling Western sanctions, was set to take the oath before parliament on Sunday.

It is hoped by the West that Rowhani, the 64-year old cleric, will take constructive steps in long-running negotiations over Iran’s controversial nuclear program.

Rowhani is expected to unveil his government line-up, according to reports by the Iranian media.

Rowhani formally took office on Saturday and received the endorsement of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who retains the final say on all strategic issues, including the nuclear talks.

Ten heads of state from around the region were due to attend Sunday's parliamentary session, set to start from 1130 GMT, Iranian reports said.

There are high expectations of Rowhani’s four-year term following his vow to engage constructively with the international community in a bid to reverse the damage caused by the hardline policies of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran currently faces international isolation with crippling EU and U.S. sanctions against its oil and banking sectors. The value of the rial has plummeted in recent years and inflation has soared.

Over the past two years the sanctions have sent inflation soaring to more than 45 percent, while the rial lost nearly 70 percent of its value against the dollar and created double-digit unemployment.

"The trajectory of my government will be saving Iran's economy and constructive engagement with the world," Rowhani said in a speech on Saturday broadcast live on state television.

However, Western governments suspect that Iran's nuclear program is cover for a drive for a weapons capability. Iran insists it is for power generation and medical purposes only.

Iran has held repeated rounds of talks with the so-called P5+1 group of Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany, but they have failed to allay Western concerns.

(With AFP)

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