Iranian president Ali Khamenei calls Trump’s election ‘good news for the world,’ but backs Donald Trump on nuclear deal



Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a cautious, moderate cleric, was elected in 2013. He’s expected to convene a five-nation conference of Middle East leaders. Rouhani and his wife, Sharabeh, daughter and son are among the Iranian delegation.

Here are key facts about Rouhani:

1. He is scheduled to give his inaugural speech at 5 p.m. Eastern.

2. Born in 1945 in Fars province, Rouhani studied at the university in Tehran before returning to join the Revolutionary Guard during the 1980-88 war with Iraq.

3. He ran unsuccessfully for Iran’s presidency in 2005 and 2013, coming in second both times. The Guardian Council, Iran’s highest authority on elections, rejected his 2012 candidacy, citing a requirement that candidates belong to a recognized political party. He later formed his own party.

4. The Guardian Council disqualified Rouhani’s top ally, former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, as a candidate in 2013.

5. Rouhani on Sunday said he was “fully determined” to improve Iran’s relations with the United States after the election of Donald Trump as president.

6. In 2014, Rouhani formally pardoned an American sentenced to 18 years in prison for espionage.

7. He married his wife in January 2006, the same year he was elected to the powerful seat of the Assembly of Experts.

8. Rouhani served in parliament and as a vice president.

9. He owns several vineyards.

10. He doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter, and he avoids the media.

11. This will be his second trip to Washington.

12. Trump and Rouhani have met twice before during the presidential campaign, the first time when they met in September 2016. The second meeting occurred in May 2016 in Washington, D.C., where both men reportedly met individually.

13. Rouhani’s last name is Ahmadzai. His parents were both from Fars province, so the family calls him Baba (grandfather) and Jamshidi (son). He is known for his stubbornness and strong work ethic.

14. He is of Persian ethnicity and was born in northern Iran.

15. He served as governor of Tehran Province from 1986 to 1990.

16. As mayor of Tehran, he weathered major protests in 2009 over disputed elections that brought conservatives to power.

17. He leads an unyielding Iran that is pursuing nuclear research and defended its ballistic missiles program as legal and morally justified. He has hinted at conciliatory statements toward the United States.

18. Rouhani is known as a negotiator and said in 2009 that it was “decadent” for a country to not negotiate with an adversary.

19. He said in 2012 that he would meet the leaders of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

20. Rouhani declined to attend a White House press conference with Trump in April 2017.

21. In September 2016, the newspaper Iran, echoing its official propaganda, called him “the new messiah.”

22. He also said he would not travel to New York in 2016 to address the United Nations General Assembly in protest of Trump’s immigration ban.

23. In 2009, Rouhani personally negotiated the release of five Americans held hostage in Iran for 444 days in exchange for the release of Iranian diplomats and Iranian U.S. citizens in Michigan. In his 2016 presidential campaign, he lauded the deal as a successful accomplishment.

24. Rouhani has a wife named Shahab Hosseini, who was born in Tehran. She works as a public affairs consultant and is frequently photographed with the president. The couple met during a session of parliament in the early 1980s.

25. Hosseini appeared with Rouhani at a March 2015 campaign rally where he credited Iran’s recently-imprisoned Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian for writing about children’s books for Iran’s children.

26. Rouhani has only been pictured with his wife in pictures circulated online, prompting some to doubt they are a couple.

27. Iranian media noted in April 2016 that Hosseini had been receiving greater prominence in the president’s Instagram account in recent months.

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