Middle East

Rouhani swaps turban for baseball cap

Iran's president shows his sporty side by hiking in the mountains outside Tehran and having pictures published online.

Last updated: 07 Dec 2013 15:08
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Rouhani is more often seen in the turban and robes favoured by Iran's clerics [AP]

The Iranian president's personal website has published pictures of Hassan Rouhani hiking in the mountains outside Tehran with his traditional clothing replaced by a sporty outfit.

The photos, published on Friday, show the mid-level cleric in a black baseball cap and matching ski jacket walking along a dirt road and using hiking poles.

Rouhani reportedly goes hiking once or twice a week.

Rouhani, who is usually seen in the turban and robes favoured by Iran's clerics, appeared to be mingling and chatting with other hikers, including a group of women.

The pictures come as the recently-elected leader seeks to present a friendlier and more moderate image of the Islamic republic, which reached a landmark nuclear deal with the West last month.

The website said that Rouhani, who defeated a pool of conservatives in a June presidential election after vowing to engage with the West, goes hiking once or twice a week.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who must approve all major decisions and who is seen as more distrustful of the West, is also fond of hiking.

State media have published similar pictures of Khamenei in the past. 

Iran and a group of world powers broke through a decade of gridlock last month to agree on an interim deal that would freeze parts of Tehran's controversial nuclear programme while easing some of the crippling international sanctions against the country.


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