World leaders arriving in Tehran to join Rouhani inauguration
Leaders and senior politicians from around the world are arriving in the Iranian capital, Tehran, to attend the upcoming inauguration ceremony of President-elect Hassan Rouhani.
Since Thursday, aircraft carrying delegations have been touching down in Tehran’s Imam Khomeini and Mehrabad International Airports.
In May, Rouhani won re-election in a landslide victory after securing 57 percent of the votes and defeating his main contender Ebrahim Raeisi, the current custodian of the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH).
The swearing-in ceremony is slated to be held (at Majlis Parliament) on Saturday.
On Thursday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei formally endorsed Rouhani as president.
Representatives from at least 100 countries are slated to partake in the ceremony.
By Saturday morning, officials from as many countries had reached Tehran for the ceremony, including: the European Union’s top diplomat Federica Mogherini; Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Britain’s Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa Alistair Burt; Deputy Danish Foreign Minister Jonas Bering Liisberg; Deputy Italian Foreign Minister Vincenzo Amendola; Deputy Austrian Parliament Speaker Karlheinz Kopf; and the Netherlands’ former prime minister Wim Kok.
IRNA reported that Mogherini had held separate meetings with President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday.
Iraqi President Fuad Massoum, Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis, Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, and Secretary General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement Ramadan Abdullah have also arrived.
So have South Korean Parliament Speaker Chung Sye-kyun, South Africa’s Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo, and Cuba’s Deputy President Ulises Rosales del Toro.
President of Inter-Parliamentary Union Saber Hossain Chowdhury, and Chairman of the board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Tigran Sargsyan have arrived in the Iranian capital, too.
Most lately, Madagascar’s Parliament Speaker Jean Max Rakotomamonjy, his Cambodian counterpart Nguon Nhel, Lesotho’s King Letsie III, First Ghanaian Deputy President Alhaji Bawumia, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, his Moldovan counterpart Igor Dodon, and Chairman of the Britain-Iran Parliamentary Friendship Group Richard Bacon have reached Tehran.
Also among the dignitaries are the President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea, Kim Yong-nam, and other North Korean political figures. The Islamic Republic recently designated a new building accommodating North Korea’s diplomatic mission.
Ebrahim Rahimpour, an Iranian deputy foreign minister, attended the ceremony, where he stressed the importance of expanding bilateral ties between the two sides.
He hailed Pyongyang’s support for Tehran during the1980s war imposed by the former Iraqi regime on Iran, with the two sides agreeing to ratchet up bilateral cooperation in political, economic, and cultural fields.
The other notables to have so far arrived for the inaugural ceremony include are the Lebanese resistance movement of Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary General, Sheikh Naim Qassem, Pope Francis’ Nuncio to Iraq and Jordan Alberto Ortega, and Secretariat of the UN Conference on Trade and Development’s Secretary General Mukhisa Kituyi.
Some other dignitaries are from Ireland, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Portugal, Malaysia, Ugandan, Guyana, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Swaziland, and Namibia.