Lawyer Biography: Hassan Rouhani

Hassan Rouhani: The Diplomat Sheikh

Hassan Rouhani was born on 12 November 1948 in Iranian central province of Semnan.
Rouhani was admitted to the University of Tehran in 1969, and obtained his bachelor's degree in judicial law in 1972. Rouhani continued his studies in the West and graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University in 1995 with an MPhil thesis titled "The Islamic legislative power with reference to the Iranian experience", followed by a PhD degree in Law in 1999.
He has been a member of the Assembly of Experts since 1999, member of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Expediency Council since 1991, member of the Supreme National Security Council since 1989, and head of the Center for Strategic Research since 1992.
Rouhani has been also deputy speaker of the 4th and 5th terms of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis) and secretary of the Supreme National Security Council from 1989 to 2005. In this capacity, he was also heading Iran’s former nuclear negotiating team and was the country’s top negotiator with the EU-3 – UK, France, and Germany – on the Iran’s nuclear program.
As a young cleric Hassan Rouhani started his political activities by following Imam Khomeini during the beginning of the Iranian Islamic movement.
Since he was prosecuted by the SAVAK, Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti and Ayatollah Motahhari advised him to leave the country. Once outside Iran he made public speeches to Iranian students studying abroad and joined Khomeini upon arriving in Paris.
Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Hassan Rouhani, who had been engaged in revolutionary struggles for about two decades, did his best to stabilize the nascent Islamic Revolution and as a first step, he started with organizing the disorderly Iranian army and military bases.
He was elected to the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis) in 1980. During five terms in the Majlis and for a total period of 20 years (from 1980 to 2000), he served in various capacities including deputy speaker of the Majlis (in 4th and 5th terms), as well as the head of defense committee (1st and 2nd terms), and foreign policy committee (4th and 5th terms).
Heading Supervisory Council of the IRIB from 1980 to 1983 was among the responsibilities he shouldered in the post-revolution era.
During the Iran-Iraq war, Mr Rohani was a member of the Supreme Defense Council (1982-1988), member of the High Council for Supporting War and headed its Executive Committee (1986-1988), deputy commander of the war (1983-1985), commander of the Khatam-ol-Anbiya Operation Center (1985-1988), and commander of the Iran Air Defense Force (1986-1991). He was appointed as Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces between 1988 to 1989.
After the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran was amended and the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) came into being up to the present time, he has been representative of the Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, at the council.
Rouhani was the first secretary of the SNSC and kept it for 16 years (from 1989 to 2005). He was also national security advisor – to President Hashemi and President Khatami – for 13 years (from 1989 to 1997 and from 2000 to 2005).
In 1991, Rouhani was appointed to the Expediency Council and has kept that post up to the present time. He heads Political, Defense, and Security Committee of the Expediency Council.
In addition to executive posts, Hassan Rouhani has kept up his scientific activities. From 1995 to 1999, he has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Tehran Universities and North Region.
Rouhani has been running the Center for Strategic Research since 1991. Having the rank of research professor, he has written many books and articles in Persian, English and Arabic. He is the managing editor of three scientific and research quarterlies in Persian and English, which include Rahbord (Strategy), Foreign Relations, and Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs.
Hassan Rouhani was secretary of the Supreme National Security Council for 16 years. His career at the Council began under President Hashemi Rafsanjani and continued under his successor, President Khatami.
Mr Rohani and his team, whose members had been introduced by Velayati and Kharrazi as the best diplomats in the Iranian Foreign Ministry, based their efforts on dialogue and confidence building due to political and security conditions as well as strong propaganda against Iran.
As a first step, they prevented further escalation of accusations against Iran in order to prevent reporting Iran’s nuclear case to the United Nations Security Council. Therefore, and for the purpose of confidence building, certain parts of Iran’s nuclear activities were voluntarily suspended at several junctures.
In addition to building confidence, insisting on Iran’s rights, reducing international pressures and preventing Iran’s case from being reported to the UN Security Council, Iran succeeded in completing its nuclear fuel cycle and took groundbreaking steps.
Following the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president, Mr Rohani resigned his post as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council after 16 years on August 15, 2005, and was succeeded by Ali Larijani as the new secretary who also took charge of Iran’s nuclear case.
On Presidential Election day 14 June 2013. Hassan Rouhani, a moderate who is supported by reformists, was victorious. He was elected in the first round of voting with 50.71% of the vote. Nearly 36.7 million Iranians voted, 72.7% of eligible voters.
Interesting facts about Hassan Rouhani 
Although Hassan Rouhani had already appeared as a diplomat and taken part in many meetings and negotiations with foreign officials as Majlis deputy speaker or the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, it was his leading role in the nuclear negotiations which brought him the nickname of “diplomat Sheikh.”

Hassan Rouhani chose the image of a key to symbolise his campaign. The cleric, who has risen from being a centrist figure to the country's president-elect, was supported by Iran's battered reformist movement.
Hassan Rouhani Quotes

"I thank God that once again rationality and moderation has shone on Iran... This victory is a victory for wisdom, moderation and maturity... over extremism."

“The Iran–US relationship is a complex and difficult issue. A bitter history, filled with mistrust and animosity, marks this relationship. It has become a chronic wound whose healing is difficult but possible, provided that good faith and mutual respect prevail. . . . As a moderate, I have a phased plan to deescalate hostility to a manageable state of tension and then engage in promotion of interactions and dialogue between the two peoples to achieve détente, and finally reach to the point of mutual respect that both peoples deserve.”

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