LATEST: Optimistic Tweet of Day from Supreme Leader’s Office

PHOTO: Ayatollah Khamenei endorses new President Rouhani, as former PresidentS Ahmadinejad and Rafsanjani looks on

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The Supreme Leader will give his public blessing to Iran’s next President, Hassan Rouhani, in a ceremony on Saturday at a mosque in Tehran.

Rouhani will be officially inaugurated on Sunday.

The ceremonies, with the Islamic Republic proclaiming the dozens of foreign dignitaries who will attend, was overtaken by a whipped-up media and political controversy over Rouhani’s remarks on Friday during a rally for Quds (Jerusalem) Day.

See Iran Feature: What Did President-Elect Rouhani REALLY Say About Israel Today?

Iranian media exaggerated and distorted the President-elect’s remark that the creation of Israel in 1948 “is an old wound that has been sitting on the body of the Islamic world” into an Israeli wound “which might be removed”.

Media, activists, and politicians seeking to portray Rouhani as a false “moderate” — and implicitly equating him with outgoing President Ahmadinejad’s declaration that Israel “must be erased from the page of time” — seized on the mis-quote. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led the political assault: “Rouhani’s true face has been exposed earlier than expected.”

While Iranian outlets corrected the quote later in the day, Netanyahu’s message continued to circulate on Twitter, raising the question of how far Iran’s relations with the “West” and West Jerusalem — and issues like talks on Tehran’s nuclear program — have already been prejudiced.

Meanwhile, back in Iran, there is the political question: how eager is Ayatollah Khamenei to endorse his new President?

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Optimistic Tweet of Day from Supreme Leader’s Office

Supreme Leader Blesses Rouhani with a Warning

The Supreme Leader begins with emphasis on Iran’s example of “Islamic democracy”, contrasting the Islamic Republic with the “dictatorial” years of the Shah, backed by the US and “England”, and the “chaos” before 1979.

After several minutes, he finally mentions “the respectful President” with an implicit warning: “He should realise the fact that the people see Iran as an Islamic country.”

Khamenei plays up Friday’s Quds (Jerusalem) Day rallies in support of his challenge and then emphasizes, “You accept the pains [of office] and the responsibility to serve the people.”

The Supreme Leader continues with his advice to Rouhani and the new Cabinet, “”Things needs to be done patiently and without haste. They need to take strong, confident steps on all fronts.”

Khamenei then discusses the pressure on Iran from sanctions and its “enemies”, calling for “reliance on domestic structures” with the “great capacities” of the Iranian people.

After a wander on the domestic and international fronts — “We have some enemies who don’t understand our language of wisdom” — the Supreme Leader thanks the outgoing Ahmadinejad Government and finally refers specifically to the abilities of Rouhani, who has overcome his “ordeals” to serve the Islamic Republic.

Supreme Leader Endorses Rouhani with a Kiss on the Cheek

The Supreme Leader, currently speaking at a Tehran mosque, has endorsed the new President, Hassan Rouhani.

Iran-watchers can decode the moment of endorsement when Rouhani did not kiss Ayatollah Khamenei’s hand; instead, the two men embraced lightly as Rouhani kissed Khamenei’s shoulder with the Supreme Leader smiling.


And they can now work through Rouhani’s speech, emphasizing the great triumph of the “democracy” of the June election, with its “fervent freshness”.

Rouhani then talks generally about Iran’s problems, saying the Government will meet the “demands” of the people.

The new President emphasizes his campaign theme of “moderation” in meeting the “bottlenecks” and “challenges” at a “sensitive juncture of time”.

There is also a slap at the outgoing Ahmadinejad Government: