Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani was officially sworn in for a second term on Thursday at a ceremony overseen by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei. “I confirm the vote and appoint you as president of the republic,” Khamenei said in front of a packed audience of Iranian officials.
Khamenei applauded the high turnout and “enthusiastic participation” in the May election as “signs of the success of the Islamic regime in reinforcing the republican and popular character of the revolutionary regime.”
Among those in attendance at the ceremony was former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who fell out of favor with the establishment and was notably barred from standing as a candidate.
Khamenei called on Rouhani to emphasize the “resistance economy” focused on increased employment and national production at a time when the official jobless rate has reached 12.6 percent.
Rouhani, a 68-year-old moderate, won a convincing victory over his hardline opponent Ebrahim Raisi in May, vowing to continue his efforts to rebuild ties with the West and promote civil liberties at home.
However, he has already faced considerable pushback from conservative opponents and now faces mounting threats from the United States, which passed fresh sanctions against Iran on Wednesday.