London, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Araqchi said on Sunday that foreign heads of state and officials would be invited to attend the upcoming inauguration ceremony of Iranian President-elect Hassan Rouhani.
“Leaders and officials of all countries across the world are invited to Mr. Rouhani’s swearing-in ceremony,” Araqchi told Iranian Students News Agency.
Araqchi added: “Regional countries, however, have a priority with regards to sending the invitations.”
While previous presidential inaugurations were attended by ambassadors, this marks the first time that heads of state and leaders from abroad have been invited to attend.
President-elect Rohani’s swearing-in ceremony will be held on August 4, 2013, a day after he is endorsed by the Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
After the invitations were issued, Kabul’s Ambassador to Tehran Nasir Ahmad Noor announced the Afghan President Hamid Karzai would travel to the Iranian capital Tehran to attend Rouhani’s swearing-in ceremony.
Immediately after the election of June 14, Karzai congratulated the Iranian president-elect, expressing hope that the two countries would further strengthen bilateral relations in future.
Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani is also to participate in the new Iranian president’s inauguration ceremony.
In a telephone conversation earlier this month, Sheikh Tamim congratulated Rouhani on the start of the holy month of Ramadan and also his election in Iran’s presidential poll.
The 33-year-old Sheikh Tamim assumed power in Qatar after his father Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani stepped down in late June.
While many foreign leaders have expressed willingness to attend Rouhani’s inauguration, a number of Iranian MPs protested the possibility of former British foreign minister Jack Straw’s presence at the ceremony.
Javad Karimi-Ghodousi, a member of the parliamentary national security and foreign policy committee, told Fars News Agency that Iranian parliament, will opposed Straw’s attendance at the ceremony.
The UK, as part of the EU, has placed a number of sanctions on Iran, including banning the import of Iranian oil, in an attempt to exert pressure over Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry, however, announced they are responsible for organizing the ceremony in coordination with the president-elect’s office.
Jack Straw told BBC Persian on Monday, July 15, that he was willing to travel to Iran with a colleague as co-chairs of the British–Iran Parliamentary Group.
Meanwhile, Iranian leaders and politicians have begun to prepare for the work that will follow Rouhani’s inauguration, including the approval process for his choice of cabinet ministers, which must be ratified by parliament.
Tehran MP Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel met with Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani to discuss the issue of how the parliament’s conservative factions should interact with the president-elect’s administration.
Haddad-Adel said: “the meeting with the Majlis Speaker was about the interaction between Rahrovan-e Velayat (Followers of Religious Leadership) and the “Principalists” faction with Hassan Rouhani’s administration. Vote of confidence for Rouhani’s possible [cabinet] candidates was also discussed in our meeting.”
There is growing speculation on who will be among Rouhani’s possible ministers. Mohammad-Reza Aref, a rival of Rouhani’s during the presidential campaign, has been widely discussed as a potential vice-president after dropping out of the presidential race in June, a move which handed the reformist vote to Rouhani, guaranteeing his victory in the first-round of voting.
Aref, however, rejected any claims in his interview with Iran’s Shargh newspaper.
“I have not received any propositions from Mr. Rouhani to serve in his cabinet,” he said.