Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Rouhani Warns Iranian Leaders against Facing Same Fate as Shah

Rouhani Warns Iranian Leaders against Facing Same Fate as Shah

Wednesday, 31 January, 2018 - 19:30
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (Reuters)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged on Wednesday Iranian leaders to listen to the demands of the people, otherwise face the same fate as the deposed Shah.

"All officials of the country should have a listening ear for people's demands and wishes," Rouhani said in a speech marking the 39th anniversary of the uprising at the shrine of revolutionary leader Ruhollah Khomeini in southern Tehran.

"The previous regime thought monarchical rule would last forever, but it lost everything for this very reason -- that it did not hear the criticism of the people," he added.

The shah's regime "did not hear the voice of reformers, advisors, scholars, elites and the educated," said Rouhani.

"It only heard the voice of revolution... and by then, it was too late."

Days of angry protests hit dozens of Iranian towns and cities over the new year, leaving at least 25 people dead and hundreds in detention.

Recent days have also seen unprecedented protests by a handful of women, posing in public without their headscarves to show their rejection of mandatory Islamic clothing rules.

Rouhani has allied himself with reformists and called for greater civil liberties, including the release of political prisoners, but has achieved little against an entrenched conservative elite that sees protests as subversive attacks orchestrated by foreign enemies.

Editor Picks