By: Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, who attended the 40th commemoration of the anniversary of the Iran hostage crisis at the US Embassy in Tehran.
Hassan Rouhani has served as Iran’s president since 2013, after serving as the country’s chief nuclear negotiator.
Before taking office, he was a politician for a little more than a decade.
On 2 June 2013, he won the election unopposed. He is the second relative young (about 55) president after Abolhassan Banisadr (also 55).
He previously served as Iran’s economic affairs minister (2001-2004) and the head of the Expediency Council (2004-2013).
He was born on 12 March 1967, in the city of Rajabag, in northern Iran. He is fluent in English and holds a doctorate in Islamic studies from Imam Khomeini University in Tehran.
In his time as economic affairs minister (2001-2004), Rouhani worked to organise Iran’s year 2000-2001 economic reforms that resulted in the stock market boom.
While in this role, he facilitated Iran’s entry into a number of international economic bodies, including the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Before taking office as Iran’s President, he worked as a member of the powerful Expediency Council that reviews decisions on policies involving the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Rouhani’s political career began in 1998, when he ran for a seat in the parliament, as a member of the Iranian Moderates’ bloc. He won and was sworn in as the 12th Member of Parliament (Majlis).
Rouhani’s political career also includes an internship at a political publication and a period as a dean of Islamic education in Tehran’s Imam Ali University.
The President is the leader of a reformist-leaning political party, named Aref. The party ran candidates for the 2013 presidential election.
The party was banned during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The party’s reformist political stance was admired by many in Iran’s traditionally conservative political establishment.
Rouhani’s social activism came to the attention of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in the early 1990s, when he and his wife – Akbar Ganji, a journalist-turned-political activist – took part in demonstrations and protests against the Bazaar System’s rules of ‘stand-off’ and ‘collusion’.
However, Rouhani was not jailed, and instead gave a series of confessions and made several visits to Khamenei, where he promised to reform the Islamic clerical system.
Hassan Rouhani role in talks with P5+1
In 2013, Hassan Rouhani was elected President and oversaw the historic release of US officials held in the Iranian Embassy in Tehran for 444 days.
The freedom of all of the Americans followed negotiations between the United States and Iran on nuclear issues and the lifting of financial sanctions by the United Nations, as well as the European Union.
In exchange, the Iranian Government released five US diplomats and 10 others, including journalists and academics.
In August 2015, Hassan Rouhani further cemented Iran’s friendship with the US and launched plans to open embassies in each other’s country. He also pledged to “unify” Iran’s diplomatic networks and said that he would replace current ambassadors.
Although the negotiations had initially faltered, the agreement ended a long diplomatic standoff between the two countries. The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was reached between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.
Last year, the final step to the JCPOA took place when the agreement was endorsed by the UN Security Council.
Incidentally, Hassan Rouhani is the same age as then-Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump.
Factbox: The Iran hostages