Rowhani, Hassan [key], 1948–, Iranian cleric and political leader, b. Sorkheh, studied Semnan and Qom seminaries, Tehran Univ. (law degree, 1972), Glasgow Caledonian Univ. (D.Phil., 1997). As a young cleric he was part of Ayatollah Khomeini's entourage in France. After the Islamic Revolution (1979), he was elected (1980) to parliament, where he served until 2000. During the Iran-Iraq War he served as commander of air defense and afterward was (1989–2005) secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, where he worked closely with Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei. He was (2003–5) Iran's chief nuclear negotiator when (2004) Iran agreed to voluntarily suspend uranium enrichment, a position reversed after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president in 2005. Since 1999 he has represented Tehran prov. in the Assembly of Experts. Often characterized as a flexible pragmatist and circumspect realist who works well with differing political factions as well as with foreign officials, he ran for president in 2013 in a six-candidate race on a platform that rejected extremism and easily won election. In office he has improved relations with the West and sought to resolve issues surrounding Iran's nuclear program. He won reelection in a landslide in 2017. Due to Iranian law limited him to two terms, he was ineligible to run for reelection in 2021, and was replaced by former head of the judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi. His surname is also transliterated as Rouhani and Ruhani.
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