Iran’s outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met his successor Hassan Rowhani on Tuesday for the first time since the moderate conservative was elected, in talks centred on political and economic issues.
Rowhani, a 64-year-old cleric who is scheduled to take office on August 3, won an outright victory in Friday’s presidential election, ending Ahmadinejad’s eight years of hardline leadership.
“The two discussed the country’s political and economic issues,” Iranian state television reported.
The Iranian presidency issued pictures of the pair, smiling broadly and firmly shaking hands.
Ahmadinejad, whose tenure was marked by fiery rhetoric and international isolation, said his administration was ready to make the transition easier for the new government.
Rowhani has vowed to mend Iran’s strained ties with the international community over its nuclear programme which the West fears is aimed at developing the bomb, despite Tehran’s repeated denials.
Reinforced by UN Security Council sanctions, punitive measures have cost Iran’s economy billions in vital oil revenues and foreign investment, leaving the country struggling with raging inflation, high unemployment and a depreciated currency.
Some analysts believe the Ahmadinejad administration’s “mismanagement” is partly to blame for the country’s economic problems.
Ahmadinejad, whose close aide Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei was barred from standing in Friday’s presidential election, has already congratulated Rowhani on his victory.