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Rouhani urges Iran MPs to ‘cooperate’ as parliament opens

Rouhani urges Iran MPs to ‘cooperate’ as parliament opens

AFP
Tehran
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged lawmakers to “cooperate” with his government in a speech Wednesday during the inaugural session of the new parliament following a February election swept by conservatives.
Many MPs are ultra-conservatives who oppose Rouhani on almost all issues, from running the sanctions-hit economy and combating the coronavirus outbreak to managing relations with arch foe the United States.
The parliament, which shapes debate in Iran, had been closed for six weeks until April 7 as part of measures aiming to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Iran has been hit by the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak. The health ministry said the virus had claimed another 56 lives in the past 24 hours, taking the overall toll to 7,564 dead out of 141,591 cases.
“I hope that in the year that remains for this government, we will be able to cooperate and work together,” Rouhani said in the address before the parliament, or Majles.
Rouhani, who is in the last year of his second and final term, called on MPs to place the “national interest above special interests”, “party interests” or “constituency interests”.
The moderate president defended the performance of his government, which has faced criticism from its conservative and ultra-conservative opponents who now form a parliamentary majority.
In his speech, Rouhani denounced what he called the “psychological war” and “economic and medical terrorism” that he said Washington was waging against Tehran.
But he said the Iranian nation had stood up against “the enemy” and that its resistance had won.
The president praised his government’s performance in dealing with the virus as a source of “great pride”, adding that Iran was “among the countries that have succeeded”.
Fereshteh Sadeghi, a political journalist in Tehran, expressed doubt the new parliament would cooperate.
“Rouhani again offers olive branch to new parliament, saying he doesn’t seek confrontation but friendship,” she tweeted in English.

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