UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Hojatoleslam Hassan Rowhani

Hojatoleslam Hassan Rowhani - the favorite of reformists and a former chief nuclear negotiator - was elected President of the Islamic Republic of Iran on 14 June 2013. Of the 36, 704,156 votes tallied, Rohani won a total of 18,613,329 votes, securing 50.70 percent of the vote.

State television declared President Hassan Rouhani the winner of the presidential vote 20 May 2017, easily beating out his closest opponent, hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi. With nearly all the votes counted, Rouhani won 57 percent of the votes among the four candidates.

The Iranian president speaks fluent English, Arabic and Persian and has written nearly 100 books and articles as well as conducting 700 different research projects. Though an establishment figure, Rouhani is a former chief nuclear negotiator known for his nuanced, conciliatory approach. He has pledged to promote a policy of "constructive interaction with the world" and to enact a domestic "civil rights charter".

He has been a member of the Assembly of Experts since 1999, member of the Expediency Council since 1991, member of the Supreme National Security Council since 1989, and head of the Center for Strategic Research since 1992. Rouhani was secretary of the Supreme National Security Council from 1989 to 2005 – under both Khatami and another moderate president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who has publicly backed him – and a former top negotiator on Iran’s nuclear program. Rowhani has been also deputy speaker of the 4th and 5th terms of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis) in 1992-2000 and secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) from 1989 to 2005. In this capacity, he was also heading Iran's former nuclear negotiating team and was the country's top negotiator with the EU-3 – UK, France, and Germany – on Iran's nuclear program.

Hassan Rowhani is an Iranian politician and Shia Mujtahid. He was born into a religious family on November 13, 1948 in the city of Sorkheh in Semnan Province. Rohani started his religious education in 1960 at Semnan Seminary. One year later, he moved to the holy city of Qom. In 1969, he was admitted to Tehran University and received his BA in law after three years. Rohani earned his MA and PhD in law from Glasgow Caledonian University.

Rohani was involved in the struggle against the Pahlavi regime as a young man. After Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s return from exile in France in 1979, Rohani was politically active in Europe. He held question-and-answer sessions with students in Britain and France. During the 1980-1988 Iraqi imposed war, Rohani served as member of the High Council of Defense, commander of the Iran Air Defense and deputy commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces.

Rohani was elected to parliament following the establishment of the Islamic Republic and served as a lawmaker for five consecutive terms until 2000. He held positions such as deputy Majlis Speaker and head of the Defense and Foreign Policy committees.Rohani represented Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in the Supreme National Security Council, and is member of the Expediency Council and the Assembly of Experts. By 2010 the Expediency Council's Politics, Defense and Security Committee was headed by former nuclear negotiator Hossein Rowhani.

Tens of thousands of Iranians marched through Tehran 14 July 1998 in support of Islamic rule as a senior official warned that those behind six days of growing unrestcould face execution. "Those involved in the last days' riots, destruction of public property and attacks against the systemwill be tried and punished as mohareb (those fighting God) and mofsed (those spreading corruption)," said Hassan Rowhani,secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Iran's top security body.

The period from October 2003 to the end of 2005 could be called the "Rowhani era," because Hassan Rowhani, then head of Iran's National Security Council, took the lead from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran in the fall of 2003 and attempted to convince the international community that Iran would now be transparent and cooperate fully with the IAEA. The EU-3 reached agreement in December 2004 from Iran's National Security Chief Rowhani that "the suspension of uranium enrichment is indefinite for the duration of the talks," and that press statements should be kept to a minimum.

The New York Times reported 14 March 2006 that, Rowhani in a "remarkable admission, suggested in his speech that Iran had used the negotiations with the Europeans to dupe them. He boasted that while negotiations were continuing, Iran managed to master a key stage in the nuclear fuel process - the conversion of uranium yellowcake at its Isfahan plant." According to the New York Times, Rowhani said, "While we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in parts of the facility in Isfahan, but we still had a long way to go to complete the project. In fact, by creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work on Isfahan. We are in fact much more prepared to go to the U.N. Security Council [as a result of that]."

Following Mahmood Ahmadinejad's election as Iran's president in June 2005, Rowhani resign as chief negotiator on the nuclear program in July 2005, a sensitive juncture in negotiations with the EU-3, and replaced by Ali Larijani [who in turn was removed in October 2007 ]. According to press reports at the time, Rowhani submitted his resignation to Supreme Leader Khamenei just prior to the inauguration of president Ahmadi-Nejad the following month. Under Rowhani, Iran had voluntarily suspended nuclear enrichment for two years during negotiations with the EU-3. Observers speculated that Rowhani, who was close to Khamenei and generally considered a trusted conservative pillar of the regime (much like Larijani), was removed for being too accommodating in nuclear negotiations.

In 2007 the electoral list of the centrist Rafsanjani-affiliated Executives of Construction party included prominent figures such as former nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani, former Iranian ambassador to France Sadegh Kharrazi, and Rafsanjani's brother Mohammad Hashemi, among others. Political scientist Farideh Farhi posited in a November editorial that this "powerful" electoral list is intended to make it difficult for the Guardian Council to disqualify its candidates since many are former government officials and key policymakers.

The think tank affiliated with the Expediency Council, Center for Strategic Research, is headed by former Supreme National Security Council secretary Hojatoleslam Hassan Rowhani. Mohammad Hoseyn / Hossein Mousavian was Iran's ambassador to Germany in the early 1990s, and later deputy secretary of the Supreme National Security Council. On 02 May 2007, Iranian authorities arrested Mousavian. The arrest was designed to discredit the Center for Strategic Research, where Mousavian was the deputy head. In April 2008 an Iranian court gave a two-year suspended sentence to Mousavian, who was convicted of breaching national security.

In the runup to Iran's 12 June 2009 presidential elections, Center for Strategic Research's leadership, including former Iranian nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani and former Deputy Foreign Minister Vaezi, advised the [losing] reformist Mousavi campaign almost full-time, and called upon CSR staff to lend support, write papers for the campaign (including most of his foreign policy-related speeches), and help raise Mousavi's profile in the media. Rafsanjani was either directly or indirectly funding all three of Ahmadinejad's challengers.

In May 2009 a statement issued by the Expediency Council's Center for Strategic Research (CSR, the government's leading think-tank, largely pro-Rafsanjani) warned Ahmadinejad not to distort the negotiating record of former Iranian nuclear negotiator (and CSR President) Hassan Rowhani. The CSR's warning to Ahmadinejad came in response to an article in a pro-Ahmadinejad daily, Vatan-e Emruz, which alleged that Rowhani had been prepared in 2005 to accept an EU3 demand that Iran suspend its enrichment program for 10 years. The CSR statement, as reported by Press TV, accused Ahmadinejad of planting the story as a way to undermine Mousavi's campaign (which was supported by most of the CSR's leadership and staff), and called on the Iranian judiciary to take legal action against the newspaper for false reporting. The CSR statement, as reported by Press TV, also warned Ahmadinejad that further dishonest accusations from his campaign would force CSR to reveal documents relating to Ahmadinejad's handling of the nuclear issue "that would show the nation what price they have paid for the inefficiency of certain officials in recent years."

Hassan Rohani, a moderate conservative who had received the endorsement of Iran's reformist movements, was the most direct during the presidential campaign. He told supporters early in his campaign that "Iran is in the middle of sensitive days, hard days. It is because of regional and international situations as well as sanctions." But it was an open question whether Rohani could improve Iran's economy so long as it continued to be weighed down by state monopolies and the supreme leader refuses Western terms for lifting sanctions.

The outcome will not soon transform Iran's long tense relations with the West, call into question its disputed pursuit of nuclear power or lessen its support of Syria's president in the civil war there - matters of national security that remain the domain of Supremet Leader Khamenei. But the president runs the economy and wields important influence in decision-making and Rouhani could offer latitude for a thaw in Iran's freedoms at home after eight years of confrontation and repression under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

On the eve of taking office, Iran's President-elect Hassan Rouhani was at the center of controversy over remarks he reportedly made about Israel. The Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) first reported on 02 August 2013 that Rouhani called Israel a "wound" that "has sat on the body of the Muslim world" and needs to be "removed." International news agencies carried the remarks and Israel's prime minister issued a swift retort. Iranian state television said later that accounts of Rouhani's comments were distorted. It aired video of reporters interviewing Rouhani in which he said "occupying Palestinian territories is like an old wound in the body of Islamic society." Rouhani's remarks came as Iranians held rallies celebrating Friday as Quds Day (Jerusalem Day). Iranian news reports said the president-elect also cast doubt on Israel's efforts to revive peace talks with Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly criticized Rouhani's reported comments, saying the Iranian leader had shown his "true face" sooner than expected. He said Rouhani's comments were part of Iran's "plan of action" against Israel.

Moderate Muslim cleric Hassan Rouhani took office 02 august 2013 as Iran's seventh president, succeeding Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the country's highest elected official. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, endorsed and confirmed Rouhani's presidency at a formal ceremony broadcast throughout Iran and abroad. The president's public inauguration before parliament took place the next day. n his first speech as president, Rouhani vowed to work to lift Western sanctions on Iran. He said the goal of these penalties was to isolate Iran and push the country towards chaos.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 20-05-2017 12:54:36 ZULU