Profile: Hassan Rowhani

Hassan Rowhani- Photo: ISNA

Photo: ISNA

Political moderate Hassan Rowhani has won election to serve as the seventh president of Iran’s Islamic Republic. He won the June 14 presidential election, receiving 18.6 million of the 36.7 million votes cast.

Rowhani served as the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council for more than 16 years. Before his election to the presidency, he lead the Tehran-based think tank, the Center for Strategic Research.

Rowhani is also a member of Iran’s Expediency Discernment Council, an advisory body to the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Rowhani is a member of the Assembly of Experts, a body vested with authority to elect and remove the Supreme Leader.

Rowhani is known to be close to both Supreme Leader and former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Chairman of Expediency Discernment Council. In a recent interview, Rowhani said “I always consult with Rafsanjani when it comes to important matters, but at the same time I am an independent figure.”

Hassan Rowhani has a long history in Iranian politics and is a former deputy speaker of the parliament. In 2003, during the Presidency of Mohammad Khatami, Rowhani became Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator. Khamenei had requested his appointment, and Rowhani held the post for two years until he was replaced by Ali Larijani when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to the presidency in 2005.

However, Rowhani remained a member of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. Since then, he has sharply criticized Ahmadinejad policies, saying they are turning more nations against Iran and failing to fix the economy.

Hassan Rowhani helped seal a deal with the European Union under which Iran suspended uranium enrichment, in October 2003, as a conciliatory gesture to the West. After he was replaced, Iran resumed those activities and has pushed ahead with them despite U.N. sanctions and resolutions demanding a halt.

He has always voiced support for the formation of a nonpartisan government. The nonpartisan government that Rowhani has described, a coalition government formed by political figures from all parties and groups, has the same elements of Rafsanjani’s idea of a “National Unity Government.” However, Rowhani insists on avoiding Rafsanjani’s  term.

Hassan Rowhani is a Shiite cleric, born in 1948. Until a January investigation by Iran Election Watch, Rowhani’s official bio on his think tank said he held a Ph.D. from the internationally acclaimed University of Glasgow. However, Rowhani actually holds a Ph.D. from the considerably less prestigious Glasgow Caledonian University. Rowhani’s think tank, the Center for Strategic Research, changed Rowhani’s educational history after our reporting.


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