Middle East

Rouhani urges end to meddling in Iranians' private lives

Hassan Rouhani (29 June 2013)
Image caption Hassan Rouhani said there should be no rift between the government and clergy

Iran's President-elect, Hassan Rouhani, has called on the government to stop interfering in people's private lives.

In a speech to clergy, Mr Rouhani said a strong government was not one that "limits the lives of the people".

He earlier called on Twitter for internet access to be freed up and for state media to report Iran's problems.

Mr Rouhani was considered politically the most moderate of the contenders in last month's presidential election, which he won with 50.7% of the vote.

He is due to be sworn in on 3 August, after the result has been ratified by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Honesty

Mr Rouhani, a mid-ranking cleric, told fellow clergy at a meeting in Tehran on Monday that there "should not be any rift or division" between them and the government, "especially at a time when people have pinned their hopes on seeing some sort of change in society".

"We need a strong society, a strong government. Today, the ground has been prepared for popular participation. The people have pinned their hopes on the future," he said in the televised address.

"A strong government does not mean a government that interferes and intervenes in all affairs. It is not a government that limits the lives of people. This is not a strong government."

Earlier, the president-elect wrote on Twitter that the filtering of the internet in Iran, which increased after massive opposition protests in the wake of the disputed 2009 presidential election, had been ineffective.

"Which important piece of news has filtering been able to black out in recent years?" he asked.

Mr Rouhani also warned in his speech that the government had to inform people about both its successes and failures.

"People demand honesty and people demand honest promises from the government," he added.

He was earlier critical on Twitter of the state broadcaster, IRIB, which has a monopoly on terrestrial television in Iran, accusing it of ignoring major issues affecting the country.

"When IRIB airs the birth of a panda in China but nothing about unpaid workers protesting, it is obvious that the people and youth will ignore it," he wrote.