Iran's president-elect calls his election victory a mandate for change

Hassan Rouhani vows to stick to campaign promises of moderation and engagement with west over nuclear programme

Iran's president-elect, Hassan Rouhani, has said his election victory this month was a mandate for change and vowed to remain committed to his campaign promises of moderation and constructive engagement with the international community.

Rouhani told a conference in Tehran on Saturday that he would keep his promise to follow a path of moderation in domestic and foreign policy.

"Moderation in foreign policy is neither surrender nor conflict, neither passivity nor confrontation. Moderation is effective and constructive interaction with the world," he said.

"People chose a new path … people said in this election: we want change. The best language of the people is the ballot box. The people's vote is very obvious. There is no ambiguity."

Rouhani's pledges could reduce tension between Iran and the west and ease the standoff over Tehran's disputed nuclear programme.

He has already promised greater openness on the nuclear issue while siding with the religious establishment that refuses to halt uranium enrichment. He believes it is possible to strike a deal that would allow Iran to keep enriching uranium while assuring the west it will not produce a nuclear weapon.

The US and its allies fear Iran may ultimately be able to develop nuclear arms. Tehran has denied that it wants to develop weapons, saying its programme is peaceful and aimed at generating electricity and producing radioisotopes to treat cancer patients.

Rouhani won by a landslide in the 14 June presidential election, defeating his conservative and hardline rivals. He will succeed the outgoing president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in early August.

The election was seen in part as a referendum on Iran's nuclear diplomacy. The country's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, a hardliner who supported a policy of resistance, finished third in the vote, which was widely seen as rejection of his tough stance on the nuclear issue.

Staff and agencies

The GuardianTramp

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