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Hassan Rouhani

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Overview

Hassan Rouhani
حسن روحانی
7th President of Iran
Incumbent
Assumed office
4 August 2013
Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei
Preceded by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement
Incumbent
Assumed office
4 August 2013
Preceded by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President of Expediency Discernment Council's Center for Strategic Research
In office
1 August 1992 – 30 October 2013
Preceded by Mohammad Mousavi Khoeiniha
Succeeded by Ali Akbar Velayati
Member of Assembly of Experts
Incumbent
Assumed office
18 February 2000
Constituency Semnan Province (3rd assembly)
Tehran Province (4th assembly)
Secretary of Supreme National Security Council
In office
14 October 1989 – 15 August 2005
President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
Mohammad Khatami
Succeeded by Ali Larijani
Deputy Speaker of the Islamic Consultative Assembly
In office
28 May 1992 – 26 May 2000
Preceded by Asadollah Bayat Zanjani & Hossein Hashemian[1]
Succeeded by Mohammad-Reza Khatami & Behzad Nabavi[1]
Head of Islamic Consultative Assembly's Commission on Foreign Policy and National Security
In office
10 May 1992 – 10 May 2000
Preceded by Eshaq Jahangiri
Succeeded by Alaeddin Boroujerdi
Head of Islamic Consultative Assembly's Commission on Defense
In office
7 November 1980 – 12 May 1988
Preceded by Hashem Sabbaghian
Succeeded by Asadollah Bayat-Zanjani
Member of Islamic Consultative Assembly
In office
28 May 1980 – 26 May 2000
Constituency Semnan (1st term)
Tehran (2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th terms)
Personal details
Born Hassan Fereydoun
(1948-11-12) 12 November 1948 (age 65)
Sorkheh, Semnan Province, Iran
Political party Moderation and Development Party
Other political
affiliations
Islamic Republican Party (1979–1987)
Combatant Clergy Association (1987–present)
Spouse(s) Sahebeh Rouhani (m. 1968)
Children 5
Residence Sa'dabad Palace (Official)
Jamaran (Private)
Alma mater Qom Hawza
University of Tehran
Glasgow Caledonian University
Profession Lawyer
Research professor
Author
Religion Twelver Shia Islam
Signature
Website Government website
Personal website (Persian)
Military service
Allegiance Iran Iran
Years of service 1971–1972 (Conscription)
1986–1991
Unit Sepah Danesh of Neishabur (1971–1972)
Commands IRI Air Defence Seal.svg Commander-in-Chief of Air Defense Force (1986–1991)[2]
Iran Chief of Staff of Armed Forces.svg Deputy to Second-in-Command of Iran's Joint Chiefs of Staff (1988–1989)[2]
Battles/wars Iran–Iraq War
Awards 1st grade Nasr Medal[3]
2nd grade Fath Medal[4]


Hassan Rouhani - Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani
"Rouhani" redirects here. For other persons with this surname, see Rouhani (surname).
"Rohani" redirects here. For the village in Iran, see Rohani, Iran.

Hassan Rouhani (Persian: حسن روحانیAbout this sound pronunciation ; born 12 November 1948[5]) is the 7th President of Iran, in office since 2013. He is also a former lawmaker,[6] academic and former diplomat. He has been a member of Iran's Assembly of Experts since 1999,[7] member of the Expediency Council since 1991,[8] member of the Supreme National Security Council since 1989,[9] and head of the Center for Strategic Research since 1992.[2]

Rouhani was deputy speaker of the 4th and 5th terms of the Parliament of Iran (Majlis) and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council from 1989 to 2005.[2] In the latter capacity, was the country's top negotiator with the EU three, UK, France, and Germany, on nuclear technology in Iran, and has also served as a Shi'ite[10] ijtihadi cleric,[11] and economic trade negotiator.[12][13]:138 He has expressed official support for upholding the rights of ethnic and religious minorities.[14] In 2013, he appointed former miner and Isfahani legislator Eshaq Jahangiri as his vice-president.[15]

On 7 May 2013, Rouhani registered for the presidential election that was held on 14 June 2013.[16] He said that, if elected, he would prepare a "civil rights charter", restore the economy and improve rocky relations with Western nations.[17][18] Rouhani is viewed as politically moderate.[19] As early vote counts began coming in, he took a large lead.[20] He was elected as President of Iran on 15 June, defeating Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and four other candidates.[19][21][22] He took office on 3 August 2013.[23] In 2013, TIME magazine named him 9th of the Most Influential People in the World. In domestic policy, he encourages personal freedom and free access to information, has improved women's rights by appointing female foreign ministry spokespersons, and has been described as a centrist and reformist who has improved Iran's diplomatic relations with other countries through exchanging conciliatory letters.[24][25][26]

Name

He was born Hassan Fereydoun (or Fereydun, in reference to a just king in Persian mythology, Persian: ‌حسن فریدون‎, Persian pronunciation: [hæˌsæn-e feɾejˈdun]) and later changed his last name to Rouhani, which means "spiritual" or "cleric" (Persian: روحانی‎, Standard Persian: About this sound [roʊhɒːˈniː] , or [ruːhɒːˈniː],[27] Tehrani accent: [roːhɒːˈni]; also transliterated as Ruhani, Rowhani, and Rohani). It is not clear when he officially changed his last name. He was named as "Hassan Fereydoon Rouhani" (حسن فریدون روحانی) in a list of Majlis representatives on 5 July 1981,[28] while photos of his identification card (Shenasnameh) taken around his presidential campaign in 2013 only mention "Rouhani" as his last name.[5]

Early life and education

Hassan Rouhani as a teenager - Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani as a teenager

Hassan Rouhani (born Hassan Fereydoun) was born on 12 November 1948[5] in Sorkheh, near Semnan, into a religious family.[29] His father, Haj Asadollah Fereydoun (died 2011),[30] had a spice shop in Sorkheh[31] and his mother lives in Semnan with her daughters and sons-in-law.[5][32] Asadollah Fereydoun is reported to have been politically active against Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the Shah (king) of Iran, and arrested first in 1962, and then more than twenty times before the Iranian Revolution in 1979.[33]

Rouhani started religious studies in 1960, first at Semnan Seminary[6]:55 before moving on to the Qom Seminary in 1961.[6]:76 He attended classes taught by prominent scholars of that time including Mohammad Mohaghegh Damad, Morteza Haeri Yazdi, Mohammad-Reza Golpaygani, Soltani, Mohammad Fazel Lankarani]], and Mohammad Shahabadi.[6]:81 In addition, he studied modern courses, and was admitted to the University of Tehran in 1969, and obtained a B.A. degree in Judicial Law in 1972.[2][6]:309–312 In 1973, Rouhani entered military service in the city of Nishapur.[34]

Rouhani continued his studies at Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland, graduating in 1995 with an M.Phil. degree in Law with his thesis entitled "The Islamic legislative power with reference to the Iranian experience" and a Ph.D. degree in Constitutional Law in 1999 for a thesis titled "The Flexibility of Shariah (Islamic Law) with reference to the Iranian experience".[35][36] Rouhani's Caledonian research was initially supervised by Iranian lawyer and scholar Professor Sayed Hassan Amin and later by Islamic law scholar Dr Mahdi Zahraa.[37]

The website of the Center for Strategic Research, a think-tank headed by Rouhani, misattributed his PhD to Glasgow University rather than Glasgow Caledonian University and confusion ensued as a result on whether he was a graduate of either university, especially as he was known during his student years by his birth name "Hassan Fereydoun".[38] Glasgow Caledonian University carried out an internal investigation to confirm Rouhani's alumnus status and after confirming it, it published Rouhani’s theses abstracts and a video showing him being capped, as Scottish academic tradition provides, during the University's 1999 graduation ceremony.[39][40]

Analysis by three bloggers indicated that two passages in his PhD thesis[41] were identical to a 1991 book by Mohammad Hashim Kamali.[41][42][43] The University library confirmed that Rouhani had cited Kamali's work both in the main body of the thesis and in the bibliography and that his theses were under no academic investigation.

Political activities before the Iranian Revolution

Rouhani (first row, second from left) praying with the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his followers in Neauphle-le-Château, France, 1978[6]:758 - Hassan Rouhani
Rouhani (first row, second from left) praying with the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his followers in Neauphle-le-Château, France, 1978[6]:758

As a young cleric Hassan Rouhani started his political activities by following the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during the beginning of the Iranian Islamist movement. In 1965, he began traveling throughout Iran making speeches against the government of the Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the Shah (king) of Iran. During those years he was arrested many times and was banned from delivering public speeches.[6]:232

In November 1977, during a public ceremony held at Tehran's Ark Mosque to commemorate the death of Mostafa Khomeini (the elder son of the Ayatollah Khomeini), Rouhani used the title "Imam" for the Ayatollah Khomeini, the then exiled leader of the Islamist movement, for the first time.[6]:375[29] It has been suggested that the title has been used for Khomeini by others before, including by the Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr, although Rouhani was influential in publicizing the title.[44][45][46]

Since he was under surveillance by SAVAK (Iran's pre-revolution intelligence agency), the Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti and the Ayatollah Morteza Motahhari advised him to leave the country.[6]:385

Outside Iran he made public speeches to Iranian students studying abroad and joined Khomeini upon arriving in France.[6]:410

Political career during the 1980s and 1990s

Early years of Islamic Republic

Following the 1979 Iranian Revolution in Iran, Rouhani, who had been engaged in revolutionary struggles for about two decades, did his best to stabilize the nascent Islamic Republic and as a first step, he started with organizing the disorderly Iranian army and military bases.[6]:515 He was elected to the Parliament of Iran (Majlis) in 1980.

Rouhani (right) and future president Mohammad Khatami (left), as members of the post-revolution Majlis (Parliament) - Hassan Rouhani
Rouhani (right) and future president Mohammad Khatami (left), as members of the post-revolution Majlis (Parliament)

During five terms in the Majlis and for a total period of 20 years (from 1980 to 2000), he served in various capacities including deputy speaker of the Majlis (in 4th and 5th terms), as well as the head of defense committee (1st and 2nd terms), and foreign policy committee (4th and 5th terms).[29]

Among responsibilities shouldered by him in the post-revolution era was leadership of the supervisory council of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) from 1980 to 1983.[2] In July 1983, while Rouhani was heading the council, the council members and Rouhani had conflicts[47] with Mohammad Hashemi Rafsanjani the then head of IRIB, which led to temporary replacement of Hashemi by first Rouhani and then immediately Mohammad Javad Larijani.[48] The conflict was resolved by the Ayatollah Khomeini intervening and insisting on Rafsanjani staying as the head of IRIB.[49]

Iran-Iraq war

During the Iran–Iraq war, Rouhani was a member of the Supreme Defense Council (1982–1988), member of the High Council for Supporting War and headed its Executive Committee (1986–1988), deputy commander of the war (1983–1985), commander of the Khatam-ol-Anbiya Operation Center (1985–1988), and commander of the Iran Air Defense Force (1986–1991).[2] He was appointed as Deputy to Second-in-Command of Iran's Joint Chiefs of Staff (1988–1989).[2]

When Robert C. McFarlane, Reagan' national security adviser, came to Tehran in May 1986, Rouhani was one of the three people who talked to McFarlane about buying weapons. Eventually, this weapons sale became known as the Iran-Contra affair.[50][51]

At the end of the war, Hassan Rouhani was awarded the second-grade Fath (Victory) Medal along with a group of commanders of the Iranian Army and the Revolutionary Guards. In another ceremony on the occasion of the liberation of Khoramshahr, he and a group of other officials and military commanders who were involved in the war with Iraq were awarded first-grade Nasr Medal by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ayatollah Khamenei.

After the war

Rouhani was offered and turned down the post of the Minister of Intelligence of Iran in 1989.[52]

After the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran was amended and the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) came into being up to the present time, he has been representative of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, at the council.[2] Rouhani was the first secretary of the SNSC and kept the post for 16 years from 1989 to 2005. He was also national security advisor – to President Hashemi and President Khatami – for 13 years from 1989 to 1997 and from 2000 to 2005.[2] In 1991, Rouhani was appointed to the Expediency Council and has kept that post up to the present time. He heads the Political, Defense, and Security Committee of the Expediency Council.[2]

After Iran student protests, July 1999 he, as secretary of Supreme National Security Council, stated in a pro-government rally that "At dusk yesterday we received a decisive revolutionary order to crush mercilessly and monumentally any move of these opportunist elements wherever it may occur. From today our people shall witness how in the arena our law enforcement force . . . shall deal with these opportunists and riotous elements, if they simply dare to show their faces."[53] and led the crackdown.[54]

Rouhani after being elected as a member of the parliament - Hassan Rouhani
Rouhani after being elected as a member of the parliament

In the midterm elections for the third term of the Assembly of Experts which was held on 18 February 2000, Rouhani was elected to the Assembly of Experts from Semnan Province. He was elected as Tehran Province's representative to the Assembly's fourth term in 2006 and is still serving in that capacity. He was the head of the political and social committee of the assembly of experts (from 2001 to 2006), member of the presiding board, and head of Tehran office of the secretariat of the assembly (from 2006 to 2008). On 5 March 2013 he was elected as a member of the Assembly's "Commission for investigating ways of protecting and guarding Velayat-e Faqih".[55]

In addition to executive posts, Rouhani kept up his academic activities. From 1995 to 1999, he was a member of the board of trustees of Tehran Universities and North Region. Rouhani has been running the Center for Strategic Research since 1991. He is the managing editor of three academic and research quarterlies in Persian and English, which include Rahbord (Strategy), Foreign Relations, and the Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs.

Nuclear dossier

Iran-EU three's first meeting, Tehran, Iran, 21 October 2003 - Hassan Rouhani
Iran-EU three's first meeting, Tehran, Iran, 21 October 2003

Rouhani was secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) for 16 years. His leading role in the nuclear negotiations which brought him the nickname of "Diplomat Sheikh", first given to him by the nascent Sharq newspaper in November 2003 and was frequently repeated after that by domestic and foreign Persian-speaking media. His career at the Council began under President Hashemi Rafsanjani and continued under his successor, President Khatami. Heinonen former senior IAEA official, said that Rouhani used to boast of how he had used talks with Western powers to "buy time to advance Iran's programme."[56] His term as Iran's top nuclear negotiator, however, was limited to 678 days (from 6 October 2003 to 15 August 2005). That period began with international revelations about Iran's nuclear energy program and adoption of a strongly-worded resolution by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In June 2004, the board of governors of the IAEA issued a statement which was followed by a resolution in September of the same year, which focused on Iran's nuclear case with the goal of imposing difficult commitments on Iran. That development was concurrent with the victory of the United States in Iraq war and escalation of war rhetoric in the region. The international community was experiencing unprecedented tensions as a result of which Iran's nuclear advances were considered with high sensitivity.[13]:120–126

As tensions increased and in view of the existing differences between Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Atomic Energy Organization, a proposal was put forth by foreign minister, Kamal Kharazi, which was accepted by the president and other Iranian leaders. According to that proposal, a decision was made to establish a politically, legally, and technically efficient nuclear team with Hassan Rouhani in charge. The team was delegated with special powers in order to formulate a comprehensive plan for Iran's interactions with the IAEA and coordination among various concerned organizations inside the country. Therefore, on the order of President Mohammad Khatami with the confirmation of Ali Khamenei, Hassan Rouhani took charge of Iran's nuclear case on 6 October 2003.[13]:138–140 Subsequently, negotiations between Iran and three European states started at Saadabad in Tehran and continued in later months in Brussels, Geneva and Paris.

Rouhani visiting Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) field hospital after the 2003 Bam earthquake - Hassan Rouhani
Rouhani visiting Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) field hospital after the 2003 Bam earthquake

Rouhani and his team, whose members had been introduced by Velayati and Kharazi as the best diplomats in the Iranian Foreign Ministry,[13]:109,141 based their efforts on dialogue and confidence building due to political and security conditions as well as strong propaganda against Iran. As a first step, they prevented further escalation of accusations against Iran in order to prevent reporting Iran's nuclear case to the United Nations Security Council. Therefore, and for the purpose of confidence building, certain parts of Iran's nuclear activities were voluntarily suspended at several junctures.

In addition to building confidence, insisting on Iran's rights, reducing international pressures and the possibility of war, and preventing Iran's case from being reported to the UN Security Council, Iran succeeded in completing its nuclear fuel cycle and took groundbreaking steps.[13]:660–667 However, decisions made by the nuclear team under the leadership of Rouhani were criticized by certain circles in later years.[57][58]

Following the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president, Rouhani resigned his post as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council after 16 years on 15 August 2005,[13]:594,601 and was succeeded by Ali Larijani as the new secretary who also took charge of Iran's nuclear case. Larijani, likewise, could not get along with the policies of the new government and resigned his post on 20 October 2007, to be replaced by Saeed Jalili. Rouhani then was appointed by the Supreme Leader as his representative at the SNSC.[59]

Presidential campaign

Our centrifuges are good to spin when our people's economy is also spinning in the right direction.

Rouhani during TV debate[60]

Rouhani was considered a leading candidate in the June election because of his centrist views yet close ties to Iran's ruling clerics and the Green Movement.[61] He announced his presidential candidacy on 11 March 2013 and registered as a presidential candidate on 7 May. Amid the run-up to the election, former presidents Mohammad Khatami and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, together with reformists supported Rouhani on the presidential race after pro-reform candidate Mohammad Reza Aref dropped out of the presidential race after Khatami advised him to quit in favor of Rouhani.[62] On 10 June, Mehr news agency and Fars news agency, suggested that Rouhani might be disqualified prior to the election[63] and The Washington Post, in an editorial, claimed that Rouhani "will not be allowed to win".[64][65] On 15 June 2013, Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar announced the results of the election, with a total number of 36,704,156 ballots cast; Rouhani won 18,613,329 votes, while his main rival Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf secured 6,077,292 votes.[20][66] Rouhani performed well with both the middle class and youth, even garnering majority support in religious cities such as Mashhad and Qom (an important seat of Shia Islam and the clergy, many of whom surprisingly do not support conservatives)[67] as well as small towns and villages.[19] Rouhani's electoral landslide victory was widely seen as the result of the Green Movement from the 2009 elections, with crowds chanting pro-reform slogans. Religious Iranians equally celebrated Rouhani's victory, demonstrating what analysts described as a thorough rejection of the policies of the conservative factions.[19]

Presidency

In his press conference one day after election day, Rouhani reiterated his promise to recalibrate Iran’s relations with the world. He promised greater openness and to repair the country’s international standing, offering greater nuclear transparency in order to restore international trust.[68] Revolutionary Guards Major General Mohammad Jafari criticised Rouhani's administration. "The military, systems and procedures governing the administrative system of the country are the same as before, [but it] has been slightly modified and unfortunately infected by Western doctrine, and a fundamental change must occur. The main threat to the revolution is in the political arena and the Guards cannot remain silent in the face of that." In June 2017, he will have the opportunity to be re-elected.[69]

Inauguration

He was announced the winner on the day following the election. He received his presidential precept from his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on 3 August 2013 and entered Sa'dabad Palace in a private ceremony. His work as president officially began on the same day at 17:00 IRDT. He was inaugurated as the seventh president of Iran on 4 August in House of the Parliament.[70]

Cabinet

See also: Cabinet of Iran

Rouhani announced his cabinet on 4 August. He had a ten day mandate for introducing his cabinet members to the parliament but he did not use this. Then, parliament must vote to his cabinet, that is scheduled to be on 14–19 August. Between three reformists politicians (Mohammad Reza Aref, Eshaq Jahangiri or Mohammad Shariatmadari) that was likely for the vice presidency, Rouhani appointed Jahangiri for the position. There were also many candidates for ministry of foreign affairs: Ali Akbar Salehi, Kamal Kharazi, Sadegh Kharazi, Mohammad Javad Zarif and Mahmoud Vaezi but Zarif becomes Rouhani's final nominee.[71] Although several names were being circulated for the other ministrial posts before the final announcement, the office of president-elect denied these speculations. On 23 July 2013, it was reported that eight members of the Rouhani's cabinet had been finalized, Jahangiri as first vice president, Zarif as foreign minister, Rahmani Fazli as interior minister, Tayebnia as finance minister, Dehghan as defense minister, Namdar Zanganeh as petroleum minister, Najafi as education minister, Chitchian as energy minister, Nematzadeh as industries minister, Hassan Hashemi as health minister and Akhondi as transportation minister.[72] This become officially after Rouhani presented the list of his ministry nominates to the parliament in his inauguration day. He also appointed Mohammad Nahavandian as his chief of staff.

Domestic policy

Economic

The economic policy of Hassan Rouhani focuses on the long-term economic development of Iran. It deals with increasing the purchasing power of the public, economic growth, raising sufficient funds, implementation of the general policies of 44th Principle of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran and improving the business environment in the short term.[73] Rouhani believes that improving the economic conditions of the people should be accomplished by boosting the purchasing power of the people, reducing the wealth gap. He also thinks that equitable distribution of national wealth and economic growth lead to all mentioned economic goals. He states that if national wealth was not created, poverty would be distributed. National wealth creation causes an increase in real income per capita and equitable distribution of wealth. His plan is targeted to increase direct and indirect assistance to low-income groups.[74]

Rouhani is urgently going to regenerate Management and Planning Organization of Iran. His economic policies also comprise optimal distribution of subsidies, control of liquidity and inflation, speeding economic growth and reducing import. He believes that inflation results in damaging effects on the economy of families and hopes to deflate that in Foresight and Hope Cabinet.[75]

Rouhani plans urgent economic priorities such as control of high inflation, increasing purchasing power and cutting down high unemployment.[76]

In 2014 it was announced that the Majlis, approved the proposed budget from (20 March 2014 to 20 March 2015). The numbers are not the most striking aspect of this budget. Rather, it is the punctuality of the administration's handing the budget to the Majlis on time that speaks volumes.[77]

Human and women's rights

Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize winner (who until recently lived in Iran), has criticized the human rights record of President Hassan Rouhani. Speaking to the AP news agency, Ebadi highlighted a rise in executions since Rouhani took office this year and accused the government of lying about the release of political prisoners. She also pointed to spreading support for a hunger strike by human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani and three others in a Tehran prison to protest inadequate medical care. On November 4, around 80 prisoners at another prison west of the capital joined the strike. Ebadi said Rohani may have a reputation as a moderate reformer but so far the new government was sending "bad signals" on human rights.[78][79][80]

Rouhani is a supporter of women's rights. In a speech after he was elected as the President of Iran, he said:

There must be equal opportunities for women. There is no difference between man and woman in their creation, in their humanity, in their pursuit of knowledge, in their understanding, in their intelligence, in their religious piety, in serving God and in serving people.[81]

Rouhani's government appointed Elham Aminzadeh and Masoumeh Ebtekar as vice presidents; as well as Marzieh Afkham, the first female spokesperson for the foreign ministry. Rouhani has promised to set up a ministry for women. Many women's rights activists, however, are reluctant about a ministry for women; because they feel that this ministry may isolate women's issues. It has also been suggested that Rouhani will require a deputy minister position within each ministry to address gender issues and issues pertaining to women.[82]

In September 2013, Rouhani ordered freedom of eleven political prisoners including noted human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. The eight women and three men are said to also include the reformist politician Mohsen Aminzadeh. The move came just days before his visit of United States for the United Nations General Assembly.[83]

Culture and media

Regarding internet censorship, he has stated: "Gone are the days when a wall could be built around the country. Today there are no more walls." He has also criticized Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting for showing trivial foreign news, while ignoring pressing national matters.[84] Rouhani also appeared to pledge his support for increasing Iranians’ access to the Internet, social media, and other political and social freedoms. In an interview, he said: "We want the people, in their private lives, to be completely free, and in today’s world having access to information and the right of free dialogue, and the right to think freely, is the right of all peoples, including the people of Iran."[85]

Foreign policy

Rouhani meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the 13th summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) - Bishkek, 13 September 2013 - Hassan Rouhani
Rouhani meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the 13th summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) - Bishkek, 13 September 2013
Rouhani designated Mohammad Javad Zarif, an experienced Iranian diplomat, as foreign minister. - Hassan Rouhani
Rouhani designated Mohammad Javad Zarif, an experienced Iranian diplomat, as foreign minister.

Foreign policy of Rouhani has been contained by the conservatism of Iranian Principlists, which fear change, while also realizing it is necessary. Furthermore, Iran’s foreign policy, which was deadlocked by the efforts of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, needs new predecessor by cautious and decisive efforts of Rouhani.[clarification needed] The main task of Rouhani is only to develop dialogues between Iran and Political rivals including P5+1. This course can help lift sanctions that damaged the Iranian economy.[86]

United States

Rouhani's visit to New York in September 2013 was hailed as major progress in Iran's relations with the United States. He previously said that his government is ready to hold talks with the United States after thirty-two years. However, after U.S. President Barack Obama requested a one-on-one meeting with him, Rouhani rejected it.[citation needed] Rouhani denied reports he had refused a meeting with Obama,[87] and felt more time was needed to coordinate such a meeting.[87] On 27 September 2013, a day after the two countries foreign ministers met during the P5+1 and Iran talks, Rouhani had a phone call with President Obama that marked two countries' highest political exchange since 1979.[87][88][89] However, due to this phone call Rouhani was protested by conservatives who chanted "death to America" when he returned to Tehran.[87]

Syria civil war

It is generally assumed that he will follow the ruling establishment in completely supporting Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s contentious president, in the Syrian civil war, as well as "strengthening the Shia crescent" that runs from southern Lebanon, through Syria, Iraq and into Iran.[90] In his first press conference after winning the presidential election, Rouhani said that "the ultimate responsibility to resolve the Syrian civil war should be in the hands of the Syrian people."[91]

Saudi Arabia

On Iran's relationship to Saudi Arabia, Rouhani wrote that during the Khatami administration, he, as the secretary-general of the National Security Council at that time, reached "a comprehensive and strategic agreement" with the Saudis, but that this agreement was not upheld during the Ahmadinejad's government. Specifically, while discussing the episode, he stated:

there was a consensus [during Khatami's administration] that we should have good relations with Saudi Arabia. No one within the nezaam [regime] was opposed to it. I went to Saudi Arabia for the first time in 1998. At that time Saudi Arabia had accused us of involvement in the Khobar Towers bombing. I went to Saudi Arabia as the secretary-general of the SNSC. From their side, [Minister of Interior] Nayef bin Abdulaziz took part in the negotiations. The negotiations began at 10 p.m. and lasted until 5 a.m. the next morning. We finally agreed on a security agreement. I returned to Saudi Arabia in [early] 2005, and had extensive discussions about the region, mutual problems between us, and the nuclear issue. We agreed with Nayef to form four committees. They were supposed to convene every few months and pursue the issues. After I left [the post of] secretary-general, none of the committees were formed and there were no meetings.[92]

—Hassan Rouhani, Sterateji-ye Amniat-e Melli Jomhouri-ye Eslami-ye Iran (National Security Strategy of the Islamic Republic of Iran)

Israel and Palestine

Rouhani describes Israel as "an occupier and usurper government" that "does injustice to the people of the region, and has brought instability to the region, with its warmongering policies." When asked to clarify his opinion about the Holocaust, Rouhani replied: "... in general, I can tell you that any crime that happens in history against humanity, including the crime the Nazis created towards the Jews as well as non-Jews is reprehensible and condemnable. Whatever criminality they committed against the Jews, we condemn"[93] In an interview with CNN, it was claimed by the CNN translator that Rouhani had acknowledged the existence of the Holocaust, however CNN's statements were accused by Iranian state media as a fabrication created by a deliberate mistranslation by CNN.[94] Other sources, such as the Wall Street Journal, argued that their independent translators corroborated Iranian media's position, and described CNN's translation as highly inaccurate, having added to their translation many words (such as 'holocaust') that he had not said.[95]

Political positions

Rouhani is considered to be a moderate and pragmatic politician.[19] In 2000, Washington Institute for Near East Policy described him as "power-hungry".[96] He was elected as president with heavy reformist support, and he pledged to follow through with reformist demands, and use his insider status within the government to bridge divides between reformists and conservatives.[97]

Personal life

Rouhani married his cousin, Sahebeh Arabi (Rouhani)[98] who is six years younger, when he was around 20 years old[32][99] and has four children.[100] Rouhani's wife changed her last name from "Arabi" (Persian: عربی‎) to "Rouhani" some time after marriage.[31] Born in 1954, she is not politically active.[98] The Guardian and the Financial Times reported that Rouhani also had a fifth child, a son who has died in unknown circumstances.[101][102]

Rouhani has three sisters and a brother.[32] Rouhani's brother, Hossein Fereydoun, is also a diplomat and politician, a former governor, ambassador,[103] and former Vice Minister of Intelligence.[104] He was Rouhani's representative to IRIB in arrangements for presidential debates.[105] Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, in a memoir dated 15 May 1982, mentions Hossein Fereydoun as the then governor of Karaj.[106] Rafsanjani later briefly mentions Fereydoon in a memoir dated 31 March 1984: "In Karaj, something has happened about Mr. Ferydoon Rouhani".[107]

Publications

Having the rank of research professor at Iran's Center for Strategic Research, he has written many books and articles in Persian, English and Arabic, including the following:[2]

in Persian
  • Islamic Revolution: Roots and Challenges (انقلاب اسلامی؛ ریشه‌ها و چالش‌ها), June 1997, ISBN 9649102507
  • Fundaments of Political Thoughts of Imam Khomeini (مبانی تفکر سیاسی امام خمینی), July 1999
  • Memoirs of Dr. Hassan Rouhani; Vol. 1: The Islamic Revolution (خاطرات دکتر حسن روحانی؛ جلد اول: انقلاب اسلامی), February 2008, ISBN 9786005914801
  • Introduction to Islamic Countries (آشنایی با کشورهای اسلامی), November 2008
  • Islamic Political Thought; Vol. 1: Conceptual Framework (اندیشه‌های سیاسی اسلام؛ جلد اول: مبانی نظری), December 2009, ISBN 9789649539409
  • Islamic Political Thought; Vol. 2: Foreign Policy (اندیشه‌های سیاسی اسلام؛ جلد دوم: سیاست خارجی), December 2009, ISBN 9789649539416
  • Islamic Political Thought; Vol. 3: Cultural and Social Issues (اندیشه‌های سیاسی اسلام؛ جلد سوم: مسائل فرهنگی و اجتماعی), December 2009, ISBN 9789649539423
  • National Security and Economic System of Iran (امنیت ملی و نظام اقتصادی ایران), August 2010, ISBN 9786005247947
  • National Security and Nuclear Diplomacy (امنیت ملی و دیپلماسی هسته‌ای), January 2011, ISBN 9786002900074
  • Role of Seminaries in Moral and Political Developments of Society (نقش حوزه‌های علمیه در تحولات اخلاقی و سیاسی جامعه), November 2011
  • An Introduction to the History of Shia' Imams (مقدمه‌ای بر تاریخ امامان شیعه), March 2012, ISBN 9786005914948
  • Age of Legal Capacity and Responsibility (سن اهلیت و مسئولیت قانونی), October 2012, ISBN 9786002900135
  • Memoirs of Dr. Hassan Rouhani; Vol. 2: Sacred Defense (خاطرات دکتر حسن روحانی؛ جلد دوم: دفاع مقدس), January 2013
  • Narration of Foresight and Hope (روایت تدبیر و امید), March 2013
  • National Security and Foreign Policy (امنیت ملی و سیاست خارجی), May 2013
  • National Security and Environment (امنیت ملی و محیط زیست), May 2013
in English
  • The Islamic Legislative Power, May 1994
  • The Flexibility of Shariah; Islamic Law, April 1996
in Arabic
  • Comments on Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence); Lessons of the Late Muhaqqiq Damaad (تقريرات درس فقه مرحوم محقق داماد) (Chapter on Prayers [صلاة]), November 2012
  • Comments on Usul (Principles of Fiqh); Lessons of the Late Ayatollah Haeri (تقريرات درس أصول مرحوم حائري) (Chapter on Academic Principles [أصول علمية]), March 2013

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