Iranian cleric Hasan Rouhani has assumed the presidency after receiving the endorsement of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The blessing was given a day before Rouhani takes his oath of office.
Khamenei - the ultimate authority in Iran - gave his official approval for Rouhani on Saturday in a ceremony that was broadcast live on state television.
In giving his blessing, Khamenei praised Rouhani, now effectively the president, for his service to the country.
"There is a clear message in electing a competent individual with more than three decades of service to the (Islamic republic's) establishment," Khamenei - himself the president from 1981 to 1989 - said in a statement.
"The message is of loyalty to the (Islamic) revolution, hope in the establishment ... and trust in individuals determined to add to its success." he added.
According to his resumé, Rouhani, who is married with four children, holds a doctorate in law from Scotland's Glasgow Caledonian University. He was a supporter of the late founder of the Islamic Repulic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, even before the revolution in 1979.
Leading figure, relative moderate
Rouhani served in parliament from 1980 to 2000 and became a member of an assembly that supervises the work of the supreme leader. He also served as secretary of the supreme national security council, which is the top security post in Iran.
The public inauguration is to take place on Sunday, when Rouhani takes his oath of office in parliament.
The 64-year-old - seen as a relative moderate - defeated several conservative rivals in the June 14 presidential election. He has pledged to shore up the economy and resolve tensions with world powers and restore diplomatic links with the United States.
Rouhani has also said that "discrimination against women will not be tolerated" under his government.
rc/dr (AP, AFP Reuters)