Wednesday, December 08, 2004

"Neo-Conservative’ Likely To Be Iran’s Next President

Islam Online- News Section

"Neo-Conservative’ Likely To Be Iran’s Next President
Rohani is seen as a pragmatic and realistic politician

By Khaled Schmitt, IOL Correspondent
BERLIN, February 24 (IslamOnline.net) - The head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Hassan Rohani, is expected to be the next Iranian president or at least to hold the foreign affairs portfolio in the new government, high-level Iranian and German sources expected.

They were quoted by the Monday, February 23, German edition of the Financial Times as saying that Rohani enjoys strong links with Iran’s Spiritual Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the highest authority in the country, and the chairman of the powerful Expediency Council Hashemi Rafsanjani.

He is also accepted by the West, added the sources.

Rohani is considered one of so-called "neo-conservatives" - Iranian Conservatives who have a more moderate agenda.

They vied in the latest parliamentary election on a platform of improved economy, more jobs and higher salaries.

Iranian Conservatives cruised to a solid victory in parliamentary elections organized Friday, February 20.

The paper described Rohani as a pragmatic and realistic politician, who is fully aware of the future requirements and has a to-the-point agenda to break the ice between Iran and the West.

Saeed Leylaz Saeed Laylaz, the deputy manager of Iran’s biggest car maker, Khodro Diesel, said Rohani has a clear-cut program that will give the country great momentum in case of assuming presidency.

The paper quoted him as saying that Rohani is very much interested in introducing essential reforms to the economic and administrative sectors, unlike incumbent President Mohammad Khatami, who cares about cultural matters.

An Iranian diplomat, who asked not to be named, told the paper that Rohani stole the limelight as a seasoned diplomat in the latest rounds of negotiations with the West over the country’s nuclear activities.

He said Rohani will help polish up the image of Iran and boost its relations with the West if given a leading portfolio in the new cabinet.

Who Is Rohani?

Rohani was born in 1949 in the central Iranian city of Semnan.

He graduated from Tehran University and started his post-graduate studies in the British Glasgow University but dropped out in 1979 and went to Paris to join the leader of the Iranian Revolution Ayatollah Khomeini.

After the revolution, Rohani was elected chairman of the Majlis (parliament) defense and foreign relations committee.

At the same time, he also the assistant of the then head of the Supreme Defense Council, Hashemi Rafsanjani, who steered the grinding eight-year war with Iraq.

Ever since the end of the war, he has been chairing the Supreme National Security Council which supervises all security and intelligence agencies.

Khatami has been the president of Iran since 1997, when he won by a landslide with 70 percent of the vote."