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Middle East

Iran supreme leader to endorse next president

Rouhani due to step into presidential role with formal endorsement of Ayatollah Khameini.

Last Modified: 03 Aug 2013 13:10
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Iran's supreme leader is preparing to endorse the country's new president Hassan Rouhani, a day after Rouhani expressed solidarity for the Palestinian people and said that Muslims would never forget their right to Jerusalem.

Rouhani was on Saturday due to meet supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini at a mosque in Tehran to receive his formal endorsement. The ceremonial event was expected to be attended by top Iranian figures including outgoing president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and foreign dignitaires.

Rouhani will be officially inaugurated on Sunday.

The ceremonies come after Rouhani marked Quds Day on Friday with a speech showing solidarity with Palestinians amid mass rallies in Tehran.

"In our region there's been a wound for years on the body of the Muslim world under the shadow of the occupation of the holy land of Palestine and the beloved al-Quds [Jerusalem]," Rouhani said in comments broadcast on state TV.

"This day in actuality is a reminder that Muslims will not forget their historic right [to Jerusalem] and will continue to stand against aggression and tyranny." 

Also on Friday, addressing a large crowd at Tehran University, outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned that a regional storm was brewing that would "uproot" Israel.

Ahmadinejad broadside

"I will inform you, with God as my witness, that a devastating storm is on the way that will uproot the basis of Zionism," Ahmadinejad said in a speech broadcast on state television. Ahmadinejad added that Israel "has no place in this region".

Ahmadinejad also accused Israel and its Western allies of fomenting discord in the region. "Who is happy for what is happening in Egypt and Syria?" he asked.

State television broadcast footage of hundreds of thousands of people on the march nationwide, as well as speeches and sermons supporting the Palestinian cause and condemning the state of Israel.

Demonstrators holding up Palestinian flags and pictures of Khamenei also denounced efforts to revive stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. 

Rouhani secured an outright win in Iran’s June 14 presidential election, with voter turnout at 72.7 percent. 

The US government has signalled hopes for an easing of nuclear tensions after Rouhani takes office, but holding off on substantive moves until the moderate cleric shows a willingness to negotiate seriously.

Rouhani, a former nuclear negotiator and veteran of Iran's 1979 revolution, has pledged domestic reforms and more international engagement, in an apparent break from Ahmadinejad's policies.

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