President Appeals for Unity of Purpose

President Appeals for Unity of PurposePresident Appeals for Unity of Purpose

President Hassan Rouhani urged all political groups and factions, including rival conservatives who lost the parliamentary majority to Rouhani's allies in the February elections, to join the government's efforts to help weather the current economic downturn.

"We should all tread the path to convergence and engage in healthy political competition to reduce our differences and help develop and strengthen the country," Rouhani was quoted as saying by IRNA.

He was speaking to a gathering of political activists at a dinner to break the Ramadan fast in Tehran on Monday. The moderate president suggested holding monthly meetings between representatives from different political groups to help build a much-needed consensus on how best to address national challenges.

Rouhani's supporters, in the form of a reformist-moderate coalition, made big gains in the February parliamentary polls and the April runoff, robbing conservatives of their longstanding majority in the 290-member chamber.

They swept all the 30 seats exclusive to Tehran, the most influential constituency, and secured smaller gains in other cities.

He called on the conservative candidates who lost in the national election to accept their defeat with dignity.

  True Politics

The president dismissed the view that politics is a means to gaining power at any cost. "Politics means working together to promote national development and social welfare."

Everyone is entitled to constructively criticizing the government, Rouhani said, but added that such criticism is poles apart from smear campaigns and political assassinations.

Frustrated with the outcome of the legislative vote, some of Rouhani's political opponents have stepped up their criticism of his plans to open up to the world after last July's nuclear deal that offered relief from crippling sanctions in return for time-bound constraints on Tehran's nuclear work.