France, UK seek ties as Teheran celebrates Rohani win
France and Britain on Saturday acknowledged Hassan Rohani's election as Iran's next president and looked ahead to establishing a relationship with him, as jubilant supporters took to the streets of Teheran to celebrate the dawning of a new era, France 24 reported.
As soon as the moderate cleric's victory was confirmed, a thousand or so people came together in the centre of the Iranian capital to celebrate. They held aloft portraits of Rohani and chanted slogans of support for him. FRANCE 24's correspondent on the ground in Teheran, Pascale Bourgaux, reported "cries of joy" and "scenes of jubilation."
As reaction from world capitals began to appear, France and Britain echoed the positive mood, signaling their willingness to work with Rohani and looking ahead to a potential improvement in ties.
France's foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, said he is "ready to work" with Iran's new president-elect, notably on the question of the country's controversial nuclear programme, and also on the country's involvement in Syria's ongoing crisis.
"The international community's expectations with regard to Iran are strong," he said, also praising the Iranian people's "unshakeable aspiration to democracy".
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the UK Foreign Office urged Rohani to "use the opportunity to set Iran on a different course for the future: addressing international concerns about Iran's nuclear programme, taking forward a constructive relationship with the international community, and improving the political and human rights situation for the people of Iran."
Just before the official announcement of Rohani's victory, his supporters, including dozens of youths, already had begun to assemble at his campaign headquarters shouting slogans such as "long live reform, long live Rohani". They also chanted "goodbye" to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The reaction of Israel, whose destruction Ammadinejad had advocated and which fiercely opposes Iran's nuclear ambitions, remained unclear. Still, Israeli public radio reported on Saturday that Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon wants tougher sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme regardless of who is elected as its new president, .
Rohani's main rivals for the presidency, Teheran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and the nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili recognized their defeat and congratulated the winner.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sent his congratulations to "the people and the elected president". Outgoing President Ahmadinejad also sent a message of congratulation.