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Iran's Rouhani preaches outreach to international community

June 17, 2013 at 3:09 PM
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TEHRAN, June 17 (UPI) -- Iranian President-elect Hassan Rouhani vowed Monday to lead a government engaged with the international community with a moderate policy.

Former nuclear negotiator Rouhani cleared the majority-plus one threshold to claim victory in Iranian presidential elections Friday. He was considered the only moderate in a field of five other candidates viewed as strong allies to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Rouhani, a Shiite cleric, delivered his first general policy address Monday after securing the presidency. He was quoted by state-funded broadcaster Press TV as saying he would steer an administration based on prudence and hope.

"[My administration] will deliver on its promises in saving the economy, reviving ethics and interacting constructively with the world through a moderate policy," he said.

Saudi King Abdullah sent a letter to Rouhani last weekend congratulating him on his presidential victory. The official Saudi Press Agency reported the Sunni monarchy welcomed Rouhani's "keenness to cooperate" with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are considered long-time adversaries. Both countries were seen as playing an indirect role against each other in recent sectarian conflict in Yemen.

The U.S. government issued a statement recognizing Rouhani's victory last week.

"The United States remains ready to engage the Iranian government directly in order to reach a diplomatic solution that will fully address the international community's concerns about Iran's nuclear program," the statement said.

Washington and its allies are wary of Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Khamenei, not Rouhani, has the ultimate say on foreign policy matters.

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