TEHRAN — Iran’s new president,
"If you want the right response, it should not be through the language of sanctions, it should be through the language of discourse and respect," Rouhani said in a pointed message to outside nations during his official swearing in at the parliament here. "Iran does not pursue war."
The president's tone was conciliatory, but he stressed that Iran sought "dialogue," not sanctions and "antagonism" from global powers.
[Updated 11:32 a.m. Aug. 4:
As Iran's new president took office, the
put out a conciliatory statement congratulating the Iranian people “for making their voices heard during Iran’s election.”
Rouhani’s inauguration, the White House said, “represents an opportunity for Iran to act quickly to resolve the international community’s deep concerns over Iran’s
"Should this new government choose to engage substantively and seriously to meet its international obligations and find a peaceful solution to this issue, it will find a willing partner in the United States," the White House said.]
In his wide-ranging speech, Rouhani again stressed his oft-repeated themes of "moderation" and "prudence," a sharp departure from the provocative style of his predecessor, two-term President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was prevented by term limits from running again. The new president also pledged to work to improve civil rights for Iranian minorities and for women and to make Iran a "meritocracy," curbing corruption.
"The people want to live better, to feel dignified and to enjoy benefits from a stable life," said Rouhani, who vowed to "restore hope" to fellow citizens.
Even before Rouhani assumed office, the
Since his election, Rouhani has said that the economic outlook is much more dire than he had believed. The new president has pledged to work to remove the "brutal" sanctions regime.
The U.S.-led sanctions are tied to Iran’s controversial
Inside Iran, hard-liners have pointed to the congressional move to tighten sanctions as an indication that Washington is not interested in negotiation on the nuclear issue. The Obama administration says it seeks a negotiated settlement to the nuclear dispute, but has not ruled out an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
As a self-described moderate, Rouhani must walk a fine balance between conservative hard-liners who hold the reins of power and so-called "reformists" who helped put him in office and back opening up the system to change and improved international relations.
During Sunday’s swearing-in ceremony, President Rouhani also named his top staff and nominations for his Cabinet. Most nominees were well-known figures from previous governments, many of them Western-educated. For the post of foreign minister, Rouhani nominated Mohammad Javad Zariv, a U.S.-educated former ambassador to the