LONDON, Aug. 4 -- Former culture minister Mohammad Khatami has been formally sworn in as Iran's fifth president and called for his country's integration in the international community. Khatami spoke to the Majlis, or parliament, at a special session attended by his predecessor, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former Cabinet ministers and foreign diplomats based in Tehran.
Guests also included the widow and family of the late Ayatollah Khomenei, founder of the Islamic republic and Iran's spiritual leader until his death in 1989, the Islamic Republic News Agency said. Khatami said, 'We seek no tensions whatsoever and welcome relations with any country but we will not bow to any pressure either.' That was apparently in reference to the United States, with which Iran has had no diplomatic relations since the 1979 Islamic revolution, which overthrew the shah. Khatami won the May presidential elections in a landslide victory, defeating parliamentary speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri with almost 70 percent of the total votes cast. A moderate clergyman who speaks fluent Arabic, German and English, he was minister of culture and Islamic guidance for about 10 years. He was fired in 1992 and became cultural adviser to Rafsanjani and head of National Library of Iran. ---
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