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Rouhani urges Iran’s MPs to cooperate on opening of Parliament

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Tehran: President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday urged Iranian lawmakers to “cooperate” with his government in a speech during the inaugural session of a parliament election.
The parliament, a legislative chamber shaping the debate in Iran, was closed for six weeks until 7 April as part of measures aimed at stopping the spread of novel coronaviruses.
Iran has been affected by the deadliest outbreak of the Middle East virus. Its toll is more than 7,500 dead and about 140,000 infected.
“I hope that the years that remain in this government, we will cooperate and work together,” Rouhani said in his first address to the newly formed parliament, or Majalas.
A Legislative Assembly election was held in Iran on 21 February and a presidential election is due in about 12 months.
Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the 11th legislature opened up as the country’s economy, gradually normalized by an outbreak of viruses.
In a sign that the fight against the virus was still over, however, one seat was left vacant between each deputy.
But many elected representatives did not wear any masks.
Rouhani, who is in the final year of his second and final term, collectively and individually called on MPs to place “national interest above special interests”, “party interests” or “constituency interests”. .
The liberal president defended the performance of his government, which faced criticism from its conservative and ultra-conservative opponents, who now form a majority in parliament.
For many observers, the record restraint in the February elections reflected people’s displeasure with broken promises.
According to official results, less than 43 percent of voters cast ballots in the election.
Voters abstained after a watchman council dominated by ultra-conservatives, disqualifying many liberal and reformist candidates in the December 21 election.
The signing of an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program in 2015 had created a bright economic future and a ray of hope for the world after years of isolating the country.
But these hopes were dashed before being completely buried in 2018 when US President Donald Trump withdrew from the pact and began re-enforcing sanctions on Iran.
Rouhani again called in his speech “psychological warfare” and “economic and medical terrorism” which he said was the United States fighting against his country.
But he said that the Iranian nation had stood up against the “enemy” and had won its resistance.
The president praised his government’s performance in dealing with the coronovirus outbreak as a source of “great pride”, stating that Iran was “among the countries that succeeded”.
Fartesh Sadhegi, a political journalist from Tehran, doubted that the new parliament would cooperate with the Rouhani government.
“Rouhani again grants olive branch to new parliament, saying he wants friendship rather than confrontation,” he tweeted in English.
“He knows that these rivals cannot be controlled because Ali Larijani did it for him in the last 7 years. God help him!” He said referring to the outgoing Parliament Speaker.


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