Iranian president-elect Hassan Rouhani vowed to pursue moderate policies during his first press conference on Monday, after beating hardliners close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“This was more than an election, it was a call by the majority of the people for moderation and respect, and against extremism. Iran has started a new chapter of moderation,” Mr. Rouhani told reporters in Tehran.
“I will not forget the promises I made before the elections, but what I can say now is that the era of sadness has ended,” he said, referring to the eight-year Presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Mr. Rouhani said Iran would show more transparency in its disputed nuclear activities.
“For settling the nuclear dispute, I will first show more transparency for strengthening trust (with the world) and whenever the trust is tarnished, I will try to rebuild it again.”
He condemned Western economic sanctions against Iran, saying that the measures were unfair to the Iranian people.
‘Reduce tension with US’
Mr. Rouhani said that Iran would be ready to reduce tensions with arch-enemy United States based on goodwill and mutual respect.
“With the US, we have an old wound but we are still ready to look into the future and reduce tensions, but on the basis of goodwill and mutual respect.”
He said that resuming relations with the United States after a 34-year diplomatic estrangement was “complicated” and needed a lengthy process.
“What the US should do in the first place is stop interference in Iran’s internal affairs, accept all the rights of Iran which are legitimate and internationally acknowledged, including Iran’s nuclear rights,” he said adding, “if all these are achieved, new steps could be taken.”
Mr. Rouhani said Iran would continue supporting the Government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad until an election in 2014.
“Our main concern is ending violence in Syria, our main wish is to see the demand of the Syrian people realised.”
“We want a stop to foreign interference in Syria and we are against terrorism in that country. The Government should be allowed to stay in power until the 2014 election,” Mr. Rouhani added.