Iran's new pro-reform parliament inaugurated

Iran's new parliament was sworn in Saturday with a very different make-up after reformist and moderate lawmakers allied with President Hassan Rowhani made strong gains in recent elections for the 290-seat body.

Their victories ended the 12-year dominance of conservatives and hardliners in the country's parliament, which is officially called the Islamic Consultative Assembly.

The shift in power is expected to help advance Rowhani's moderate policies, including warmer relations with the West as well as increasing personal freedoms and the rights of women. A record 18 women were elected to parliament in the February and April elections.

"The citizens have demonstrated their political maturity in the general election and made clear what they want, but also what they do not want," the president told lawmakers after being sworn-in.

He also delivered an economic warning to parliament, saying that the days of oil bringing in 100 dollars per barrel are over and so Iran must seek foreign investment.

"To achieve this goal, the executive and legislative branches should work with - and no longer against - each other," Rowhani said.

The polls were also the first political test for Rowhani following the nuclear deal reached last year between Iran and six world powers after two decades of negotiations.

Iran curbed its nuclear programme in exchange for the removal of crippling economic sanctions. But Tehran has criticized the amount of time it is taking for the accord to take full effect. Among other things, it says that wants to soon be fully reintegrated into the global financial system.

Rowhani, who came to power in a landslide electoral victory in 2013, is eager to improve economic conditions ahead of presidential polls set for 2017, in which he is expected to seek re-election.

Last update: Sat, 28/05/2016 - 11:47

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