By Mick Krever, CNN
One thing is clear in Iran, at least according to an adviser to the president-elect's campaign: The people have rejected the policies of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The election of reform-minded Hassan Rouhani is an indication of the mood of the Iranian people, Sadegh Zibakalam, who advised the campaign of the next president, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.
“The most important issue is not to continue with the policies that have been running and guiding Iran during the past, particularly four years,” Zibakalam said. “Moving towards a better conciliatory, realistic, and pragmatic policy – I mean, that is the main issue.”
In a press conference on Monday, Rouhani also struck a conciliatory tone, while reiterating that he would defend Iran’s sovereign rights.
“We don't want to see more tension,” Rouhani said. But the talks with the United States must be based on “mutual respect and interest,” with America acknowledging that “they will never interfere in the domestic affairs of Iran.”
Zibakalam summed up Rouhani’s press conference succinctly.
“He is sending this simple message to the world,” Zibakalam said, “that there has been a real election in Iran, and hopefully, Inshallah, there will be new foreign policy, as far as Iran is concerned.”
Iran’s president must ultimately answer to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, but the president-elect’s adviser warned not to underestimate the importance of Rouhani’s victory.
“You must realize that although the Supreme Leader has tremendous power according to the construction, but he doesn’t take the decision in a vacuum,” Zibakalam said. “Obviously he has seen that … the people are more or less tired of the hardline policies that have been governing Iran.”