World News : Mid-ranking cleric Hassan Rowhani meets Iran’s supreme leader on Saturday to be endorsed as the country’s seventh president a day after making controversial comments about the Islamic republic’s arch-foe Israel.
After his surprise election win in June, the 64-year-old seen as a moderate assumes Iran’s highest elected office at a 1230 GMT ceremony presided over by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
On Sunday he will be formally sworn in before parliament.
Rowhani succeeds Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose turbulent double-term presidency was marked by frequent outbursts against the Jewish state and a disputed re-election that saw a heavy-handed crackdown on dissent.
His re-election in 2009 was followed by massive anti-regime demonstrations by supporters of losing reformist candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi who alleged the vote had been rigged.
Those protests provoked a deadly crackdown and led to dozens of reformist figures and journalists being detained.
Mousavi and Karroubi have been under house arrest since early 2011.
Ahmadinejad’s eight years in office were also marked by showdowns with Western powers over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and economic suffering because of international sanctions and mismanagement. Agencies