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Rouhani promises moderation in Iran

Hassan Rouhani has received the blessing of Iran's supreme leader to take over as president. On Sunday, he is to take the oath of office. Rouhani has already signalled he'll change tack on the challenges facing Iran.

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In a ceremony in Iran's capital, Tehran, on Saturday, the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, gave his official approval for Hassan Rouhani to assume office as president.

"There is a clear message in electing a competent individual with more than three decades of service to the (Islamic republic's) establishment," Khamenei said during the ceremony, which was broadcast live on television.

"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.

Rouhani, 64, who served in parlliament from 1980 to 2000, is seen as a relative moderate.

He won the June 14 presidential election in part at least by pledging to take steps to improve Iran's economy and Tehran's relations with other members of the international community.

Rouhani is to be sworn in to office in a ceremony before parliament on Sunday.

pfd/av (AP, AFP, Reuters)