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Rouhani, Suleiman: Vanguards Of Moderation in Middle East

Like his counterpart in Beirut, Tehran’s new President Hassan Rouhani embraces just the kind of moderation the region may need at this tumultuous time.
Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman speaks during a ceremony marking the 67th Army Day, at a military academy in Fayadyeh, near Beirut, August 1, 2012. REUTERS/Dalati Nohra/Handout (LEBANON - Tags: ANNIVERSARY POLITICS MILITARY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - RTR35TE4
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The visit of Lebanese President Michel Suleiman to Iran last week, where he attended the swearing-in ceremony of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, is noteworthy in several respects. Even though they are separated by barriers of language and geography, they nevertheless exhibit several points of similarity that merit attention.

This applies particularly to the personal style adopted by both men, as well as the circumstances surrounding them and the role each finds thrust upon his shoulders. The Iranian president — or the “moderate president,” as the media prefers to call him — has made moderation his standard, one which he carried all the way to the presidency. In this he was supported by the moderate sentiments and a mobilized public, which in itself indicated something about the vitality of Iranian society and its desire for change. Rouhani's ascent to the presidency also constituted a genuine earthquake. Not only in terms of the result itself (which was accomplished without a runoff round), but also regarding the vast difference between him and candidates Mohammad Rezai and Mohammad Ghalibaf, who were affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) and led it militarily, in one form or another.

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