Iran's Rouhani starts new term facing reform criticism

Some of Iran's older friends, including Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, also arrived for the ceremony, which came two days after Rouhani was officially sworn in by the country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

On Thursday, Rouhani vowed to focus on economic growth of the country as he was endorsed by the Iranian Supreme Leader as Iranian president for his second term.

Britain, France and Germany - which signed the deal with Russia, China and the USA - remain firm backers of the agreement and are eagerly seeking to rebuild trade ties with Iran, despite problems caused by the U.S. sanctions.

After Rouhani's re-election in May, she took to Twitter to fulsomely praise Iran's electoral process, declaring, "Iranians passionately took part in the political life of their country".

National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun pointed out Iran has enjoyed positive effects, including economic growth, from the agreement on its nuclear program two years ago.

Iran's state TV reported that more than 130 high-ranking officials from various countries and worldwide organizations attended the ceremony in Tehran.

"If the sanctions are to be implemented, there will be problematic times for Iran and for the nuclear deal in general", Hassan Ahmadian, a professor at the University of Tehran, said. He promised that Iran will pursue a "path of coexistence and interaction with the world". European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini was among the attendees at Saturday's ceremony in Iran.

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The EU will safeguard the nuclear deal "with determination", Mogherini said, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

"Iran has proved that it will respond to respect with respect, and to sanctions and threats with an appropriate response and with resistance", he added.

President Donald Trump signed into law a new sanctions package that targets Iran, along with Russian Federation and North Korea, despite complaints that it includes "a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions".

In the May 19 polls, Rouhani clinched 23.5 million votes out of some 41 million ballots cast, beating out hardline rival Ebrahim Raisi, who secured 38.5 percent of the vote.

However, Iran has successfully negotiated notable business deals with Europe, including a $5 billion natural gas development project with French conglomerate Total.

But among Iranians, the real attention was on who would be named to Rouhani's new cabinet.

  • Sonia Alvarado