Iran’s Rouhani vows to end isolation as he starts second term

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani vowed to continue his efforts to end the country’s isolation as he was sworn in for a second term on Thursday by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei.

“We will never accept isolation,” Rouhani told a packed audience of Iranian political and military officials in Tehran.

“The nuclear deal is a sign of Iran’s goodwill on the international stage,” he said, referring to the 2015 agreement with world powers to curb its atomic program in exchange for an easing of sanctions.

However, his inauguration came less than 24 hours after fresh sanctions were imposed by US President Donald Trump, who has threatened to tear up the nuclear deal entirely.

Rouhani, a 68-year-old moderate who has faced fierce criticism from conservatives for his efforts to rebuild ties with the West, issued a call for unity.

“I declare once again that with the election concluded, the time for unity and cooperation has begun,” he said.

“I extend my hand to all those who seek the greatness of the country.”

Among those in attendance at the ceremony was hardline former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who fell out of favor with the establishment and was sensationally barred from standing as a candidate this year.

Khamenei applauded the high voter turnout and “enthusiastic participation” in the May election as “signs of the success of the Islamic regime in reinforcing the republican and popular character of the revolutionary regime.”

He called on Rouhani to emphasize the “resistance economy” focused on increased employment and national production at a time when the official jobless rate has reached 12.6 percent.

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