Iran's new president, moderate Muslim cleric Hassan Rouhani, took the oath of office before parliament Sunday, a day after he was formally endorsed and confirmed in his new role by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Rouhani pledged to uphold the constitution and protect the official religion of the Islamic Republic in a ceremony attended for the first time by foreign dignitaries, including regional leaders.
He promised to fight corruption and all forms of discrimination, saying Iran's people had demanded reform, change and prosperity though the ballot box.
The 64-year-old cleric will have to deal with huge challenges, including a sagging economy and the outside world's predominantly negative view of Iran's controversial nuclear program.
Rouhani easily beat his conservative rivals in June elections. He has pledged to pursue less confrontational policies abroad in order to ease international sanctions on Iran's economy over its nuclear policies.
Rouhani is expected to name his cabinet later Sunday which he says will be chosen from figures across the political spectrum.
Iranian media earlier reported that Mohammad Nahavandian will be Rouhani's chief of staff. Nahavandian has a doctorate in economics from George Washington University in the U.S.
Rouhani is Iran's seventh president, succeeding Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the country's highest elected official.
Trained as a lawyer in addition to the religious studies he began as a teenager, Rouhani has held senior political posts in Iran for decades, including leading the nation's team of nuclear negotiators for over 15 years (1989-2005).
The president is Iran's head of government. Iran's supreme leader is the chief of state and gives final approval for major policy decisions.
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