After Trump speech, Rouhani says Iran leaders should ‘have a listening ear’ to the people

by WorldTribune Staff, January 31, 2018

Iran’s leaders must be open to listening to all the nation’s people, including protesters, President Hassan Rouhani said on Jan. 31.

During his State of the Union address on Jan. 30, Trump referenced the anti-government protests that hit dozens of towns and cities in Iran over the new year.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani marks the anniversary of the 1979 revolution at a shrine in Teheran on Jan 31. / AFP

“When the people of Iran rose up against the crimes of their corrupt dictatorship, I did not stay silent,” he said. “America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom.”

“All officials of the country should have a listening ear for people’s demands and wishes,” Rouhani said during a visit to the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

“The previous regime thought monarchical rule would last forever, but it lost everything for this very reason — that it did not hear the criticism of the people,” he added, flanked by Khomeini’s grandson, Hassan Khomeini, who is seen as a prominent reformist.

“The Iranian nation will never give up Imam Khomeini’s legacy: Islamism and Republicanism. Return is impossible,” Rouhani said.

Hours after U.S. President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, Rouhani also said that “As long as people love the culture of Islam and love their Iran and safeguard their national unity, no superpower can change the path of this nation.”

Trump said the United States stands with the people of Iran against the country’s “corrupt dictatorship” and also called on lawmakers to help pass legislation to fix “fundamental flaws” in the nuclear deal between world powers and Iran.

“Trump again confirms his ignorance of Iran & region. Everyone knows where he stands; and it’s certainly not with Iranians,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later tweeted.

Rouhani’s comments also came a day after Mehdi Karrubi, a prominent Iranian reformist who has been under house arrest for the past seven years, said that major reforms were needed “before it is too late,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported.

In an open letter to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Karrubi said that the recent protests were inevitable because of the depth of “injustice, corruption, and discrimination” in the country, the RFE/RL report said.

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