Wednesday, August 03, 2005

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People's Daily Online -- Iran's Ahmadinejad assumes presidency: "Iran's Ahmadinejad assumes presidency

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took over the post as president of the Islamic Republic of Iran Wednesday morning in Tehran as the country's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei granted warrant to him.

Khamenei expressed his congratulations to the Iranian people for their vote in June and said, "I confirm that vote and name Mr. Ahmadinejad president of the Islamic Republic of Iran."

With Khamenei's confirmation, Ahmadinejad officially took the post from his predecessor Mohammad Khatami.

The ceremony, held in Khamenei's residence in central Tehran, was also attended by Khatami and heads of other powerful bodies of the Islamic Republic.

They included Chairman of Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Majlis (Parliament) Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, Chairman of the Guardian Council Ahmad Jannati, Chairman of the Assembly of Experts Ayatollah Ali Meshkini and Judiciary Chief Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi.

Khatami read Khamenei's warrant letter to Ahmadinejad, in which the leader expressed confident that Ahmadinejad would "lead Iran into a new era of magnificence with the determination of all Iranians."

Khamenei also praised the new president's "scholarly, frank and candid nature."

"His commitment to serve the country as well as to combat corruption is showed by his simple life," the supreme leader said, "I hope he will make full use of all human resources to work for his noble goal which he set during the past."

Ahmadinejad, for his part, said that he would make all efforts to promote justice in domestic and international arena.

"I have four principles of administration. The first one is justice, which is the noble goal of all peoples love freedom in the world," he said in a speech delivered soon after receiving the warrant.

Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad listed the other three principles as loyal to Islam, serving the people and advancing human material in the country.

"As a public servant, I feel duty bound to protect the independence and culture of the nation and the people," he said at last.

According to the rules of the Islamic Republic, Wednesday's ceremony marked the beginning of the new president's assumption of power, but he will also be sworn in at another inauguration held on Saturday in the Majilis.

Ahmadinejad, the 49-year-old former Tehran mayor, defeated former president Rafsanjani with a landslide victory of 61.69 percent of the total eligible votes in the ninth presidential election in June.

He is the first non-cleric to hold the post. Being the sixth president of the Islamic Republic since 1981, he will serve a four- year term.

Ahmadinejad earned his positive reputation from the merits of improving the traffic condition and stabilizing prices in the sprawling and polluted capital city.

He was regarded as ultra-conservative and held a uncompromising attitudes toward the nuclear issue and the relations with the United States.

At his first press conference after being elected, Ahmadinejad said his cabinet would "never give up Iran's legal rights under any circumstances" and would have no intention to improve the relations with the United States.

Ahmadinejad came into power at the juncture that Iran's nuclear issue was pushed unprecedented close to a crisis by Tehran's substantial steps toward resumption of its uranium conversion activities.

Iran on Monday announced that it would remove seals on the uranium conversion facility in the central city Isfahan soon under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The move led to touch warnings from the European Union and the United States. Both threatened to refer Iran's nuclear case to the UN Security Council.

Meanwhile, the new president is facing another challenge -- the stagnant economy.

He gained enthusiastic support from the poor of the country with the slogan of "economic justice," on which he vowed to make the economy robust and reallocate the national wealth, especially the money-incurring oil.

Therefore, he has been expected to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor and to decrease the unemployment, which is said to be soaring around 16 percent according to the official statistics but has been doubled by some unofficial estimates.

Source: Xinhua"