Iran’s president-elect Hasan Rouhani was to be officially endorsed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for a four-year term on Saturday afternoon, at a ceremony attended by senior Iranian officials.
Rouhani will take an oath of office in the Iranian parliament on Sunday, an inauguration ceremony for which the Islamic Republic sent out invitations to world leaders last month. Israel and the United States were not invited.
Rouhani will then have two weeks to name his cabinet and the parliament will have have 10 days to review the candidates, AFP reported.
According to Iran’s Press TV, the inauguration ceremony Sunday will be attended by the presidents of Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Armenia, North Korea, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Sudan, Sri Lanka and Togo; the prime ministers of Syria and Swaziland; the vice presidents of Nicaragua, Tanzania, Cuba and Ghana; the foreign ministers of South Africa, India, Brazil, Turkey, Mauritania, Sri Lanka, Burundi and the Palestinian Authority; and the parliamentary speakers of Russia, Venezuela, Algeria, Azerbaijan, the UAE, Uzbekistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Former European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana will reportedly attend as a special guest.
Rouhani replaces Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose 8-year presidency was marked by confrontation with the West over Iran’s nuclear program, economic suffering due to an increase in global sanctions, and persistent denial of the Holocaust.
The president-elect pledged to follow a “path of moderation” after winning a landslide victory in Iran’s June 14 presidential election. He promised greater openness over the country’s nuclear program, which has placed it at odds with the West.
Rouhani was believed to have garnered the votes of Iran’s more reform-minded voters, even though he is a veteran of the ruling clerical establishment and his candidacy was authorized by Khamenei.
On Friday, Rouhani attracted world attention when he called Israel an “old wound” at an event for International Quds Day in Iran, attending by millions. Earlier in the day, he was misquoted with media outlets reporting that he had called for the “wound… to be removed,” a statement promptly and sharply criticized by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“There is an old wound on the body of the Islamic world, under the shadow of the occupation of the holy lands of Palestine and Jerusalem,” read the corrected ISNA quote by Rouhani. Netanyahu subsequently rolled back his response.
In his remarks Friday, Rouhani also expressed doubts about the possibility of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal as the two sides resumed negotiations in Washington last week.
“Israelis show a compromising face to the world but continue their expansionism in practice,” Rouhani said, according to Fars, another semiofficial news agency. “This rally is a reminder that Muslim people will not forget their historical right and they will resist oppression and invasion.”
AP contributed to this report.