As Iran commemorates the 39th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, president Hassan Rouhani is caling for “a year of unity”, just weeks after widespread anti-government protests throughout the country.
“I request that the 40th year of the revolution, the coming year, be the year of unity. I ask conservatives, reformists, moderates and all parties and all people to come and be together,” he told a crowd Sunday in Tehran.
“Our revolution was victorious when we were all together,” he added.
Rouhani gave a nod to recent protests, which he has tried to use as a way to convince conservatives they must follow his calls for reform.
Heavy criticism of Iran’s government led protesters to the streets last month in the largest such uprising since 2009.
The protesters, motivated by unemployment, inflation and a lack of change after the lifting of international sanctions in 2015, spoke out against Iran’s leaders, and in some cases they’re even praising the government overthrown in 1979 by the Iranian Revolution.
Rouhani also called U.S. policy in the region “a failure” as demonstrators burned American flags as well as images of U.S. president Donald Trump in the streets of the capital.
Iran’s Islamic Republic is a hybrid of Islam-driven theocracy and a republic led by a president elected by popular vote.