Former Chief Nuclear Negotiator Emphasizes Economy, Reviving Relations with the World
Hassan Rouhani, 64, former director of Iran's Supreme National Security Council and chief nuclear negotiator under presidents Rafsanjani and Khatami, today announced his candidacy for president. Rouhani told his supporters in Tehran that his administration will normalize the country’s relations and end “quarrelling.”
“We need a new management for the country but not based on quarrelling, inconsistency and eroding domestic capacity, but through unity, consensus and attracting honest and efficient people,” Rowhani told said.
“My government will be one of prudence and hope and my message is about saving the economy, reviving ethics and interaction with the world,” Rouhani added. “Inflation is above 30 percent, the reduction in the value of the national currency, unemployment and zero economic growth are among the country's problems.” [Mehr News Agency, 11 April]
By emphasizing that his administration would reduce tensions and normalize interaction with outside world, Rouhani differentiated himself from other declared candidates on topics that are closely linked to the economic challenges facing Iran due to sanctions.
Rouhani, a Shia cleric, presided over negotiations with Britain, France and Germany that saw Iran agree to suspend uranium enrichment between 2003 and 2005. President Ahmadinejad reversed the course and restarted the enrichment activities after his election in 2005 that led to rounds of sanctions imposed against Iran by the U.N. and the West, including the more recent Western sanctions on oil and access to global banking.
Notable among Roohani’s supporters in today’s rally were Yasser and Fatemeh Hashemi, son and daughter of former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, indicating that the potential kingmaker in the upcoming election could be contemplating to support Rouhani’s candidacy, if he decides not to run himself. But it’s too early to draw definite conclusions based on Yasser and Fatemeh’s presence in today’s event.
File photo: Hassan Rouhani (L), then head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council and chief nuclear negotiator, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Moscow, November 2003. (Mikhail Metzel/Pool/Reuters)