Hassan Rohani

Hassan Rohani’s appearance at a press conference on Monday June 17 to answer a wide range of questions was cut short when an audience member shouted a reminder that the president-elect should try to release the opposition leader MirHosein Mousavi from house arrest.

Rohani answered questions on various topics: the national political situation, journalism, economic plans, Syria, the nuclear program and international relations.

The Etemad daily reporter asked the president-elect about the possible release of political prisoners including the opposition leaders under house arrest.

Rohani responded: “We need to have patience with the house arrests since it is not all up to the president, and the three branches of the government have to collaborate on it. But I am very hopeful that the atmosphere will change and make favourable grounds for meeting many of the demands that are being put forward.”

Following the controversial elections of 2009, many political activists were arrested, and since 2011, the two reformist candidates from 2009, MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, have been under house arrest. Zahra Rahnavard is also under house arrest with her husband MirHosein Mousavi.

Hassan Rohani was elected with more than 18 million votes after top reformist figures Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami endorsed him and Mohammadreza Aref, the other reformist candidate in the race, withdrew in his favour.