Iran leader urges unity, calls for popular referendums

By Narges Rezai and Ahmet Dursun

ANKARA (AA) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday called for making use of constitutional articles allowing the use of popular referendums with a view to deciding contentious national issues.

In a statement released by his office, Rouhani said: “We should benefit from constitutional options related to the administration of our country.”

Calling for a “year of unity”, he said most of Iran’s national debates could be resolved “through the exercise of basic constitutional principles”.

“Everyone has a responsibility to adhere to the constitution,” Rouhani said.

“The president has different responsibilities from everyone else. Therefore, they [i.e., the public] should help the president [resolve issues of national concern],” he added.

In a speech delivered on Sunday to mark the 39th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, Rouhani said the constitution must remain a main point of reference for resolving disputes.

He went on to cite Article 59 of Iran’s national charter, which reads: “Debates over legislation related to important social, cultural, economic or political issues can be resolved through a direct vote by the people.”

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