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Iran’s Rouhani Demands Referendum to End Internal Crises

Iran’s Rouhani Demands Referendum to End Internal Crises

Monday, 12 February, 2018 - 06:45
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gestures as he speaks during a rally marking the anniversary of Iran's 1979 revolution, in Tehran, Iran, February 11, 2018. (Reuters)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani criticized on Sunday the authorities’ meddling in the personal affairs of the citizens and the interference in the presidential elections, saying that restrictions should be lifted against those aspiring to run in polls.

He also proposed to political parties and blocs holding a popular referendum to end Iran’s political crises.

The president made his remarks during a rally in central Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) Square marking the 39th anniversary of the Iranian revolution.

“There is no solution to preserving the revolution’s system and the country except through the participation of the people,” Rouhani went on to stay.

"When the Revolution took place, we pushed some off the revolutionary train that we should have not," he added. "Today, we have to let them board the train again."

On a possible referendum, he said that disputes among political blocs could be resolved through a vote. He referred to article 59 of the constitution that says that economic, political, social and cultural issues can be tackled through the people’s vote.

A week earlier, Rouhani had addressed the recent anti-government regime protests, saying said that the people were not driven strictly by economic reasons, but by social, political and foreign policy concerns.

On Sunday, he stressed that Iran today needed all of its conservatives, reformists and moderates who believe in the constitution.

He added that the problem in the country lies in the “decision-making process” and that those in power “were not honest with the Iranians over the facts.”

Furthermore, he underlined the need to respect all ethnicities, religions and sects in Iran.

On the regional and international scene, Rouhani defended Iran’s role in Syria and Iraq, saying that it had defended its allies there and it led to the “victory against the evil of terrorism.”

“With the help of the Iraqi and some regional countries, Tehran thwarted the conspiracy to partition Iraq into two states,” he continued.

He also addressed the internal situation in Lebanon, accusing the United States of seeking to create unrest and long-term chaos and transform it into a war zone.

Rouhani noticeably refrained from bringing up the recent Iranian-Israeli escalation over the weekend. He did however address the 2015 nuclear deal struck between Tehran and world powers, saying that the American administration had failed several times in this file.

“We will commit to the agreement as long as the other side remains committed to its vows. They will be harmed if the United States withdraws from the deal,” he warned.

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