Hassan Rouhani hails 'victory of moderation' in Iran as supporters celebrate

Sunday 16 June 2013 22.01
Hassan Rouhani's supporters have celebrated his victory on the streets of Tehran
Hassan Rouhani's supporters have celebrated his victory on the streets of Tehran

Iran's president-elect Hassan Rouhani has called on the people of his country to assist him in his efforts to "preserve national pride and national interests".

In his first televised speech after being announced as the new president of Iran, the moderate cleric said that in order to achieve "peace and stability", the country needs to enforce and remain committed to the law.

He said: "(I'm proud that) the great people (of Iran), the honourable people, thought that I deserve this.

"They trusted me so that I can begin on the path to serve the country, to enhance people's lives and welfare."

Mr Rouhani described the election as a "victory of moderation over extremism".

As he spoke, cars could be heard in the background in the streets, as drivers honked their horns in celebration.

His comments came as celebrations broke out on the Tehran streets that were battlefields four years ago following the controversial re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has congratulated Mr Rouhani and urged him to play a constructive role in both regional and international affairs.

The US has said it is ready to engage directly with Iran over its nuclear programme following the election.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said: "President-elect Rouhani pledged repeatedly during his campaign to restore and expand freedoms for all Iranians.

"In the months ahead, he has the opportunity to keep his promises to the Iranian people."

Elsewhere, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged continued international pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear programme.

"The international community must not give in to wishful thinking or temptation and loosen the pressure on Iran for it to stop its nuclear programme," Mr Netanyahu told his cabinet, according to a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office.