Iran's Rouhani: Gov't Needs to Butt Out of People's Lives

New leader spreads moderate message

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 3, 2013 12:29 PM CDT

(Newser) – Iran's President-elect Hassan Rouhani has begun delivering his message of moderation, calling upon the country's leaders and clergy to stop meddling so much in the private affairs of its citizens. "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," he said in an address on state TV, Reuters reports. Rouhani has criticized the country's Internet filtering, and chastised state broadcaster IRIB for ignoring important issues. "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 reportedly tweeted.

Rouhani has also spoken out against enforcement of the country's Islamic dress code, saying he doesn't support religious police cracking down on loose clothing and hairstyles—though he didn't go so far as to say the dress code should end, reports the Guardian. "If a woman or a man does not comply with our rules for clothing, his or her virtue should not come under question," he told a magazine. "In my view, many women in our society who do not respect our hijab laws are virtuous. Our emphasis should be on the virtue." He also says he opposes the segregation of men and women, criticizing politicians who want to ban women from entering soccer stadiums alongside men.

Iranian President-elect Hasan Rouhani speaks in a conference in Tehran, Iran.   (AP Photo/Office of the President-elect, Mohammad Berno)
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