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Iran's Rouhani unveils landmark bill of rights

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TEHRAN  - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani unveiled a landmark bill of rights on Monday, guaranteeing freedom of speech, protest, fair trials and privacy, saying the achievement was "one of my oldest dreams".

Although many of the rights are already enshrined in Iran's constitution written after the 1979 Islamic revolution, Rouhani said it offered the first clear list of principles that could be used to check the performance of state institutions.


"I'm very pleased that today one of my most important promises is being delivered and I am achieving one of my oldest dreams," Rouhani told officials in a televised ceremony.

However, many institutions, including the judiciary and the powerful Revolutionary Guards, are firmly in the grip of hardliners who do not answer to the president and say the priority is to protect the revolution against dissenters and outside interference.

Having promised a bill of rights for citizens during his 2013 election campaign, Rouhani's announcement may mark a belated effort to rally reformist supporters ahead of a re-election bid in May.

Rouhani said the bill was not yet a formal law, but "must be implemented by everyone".

A new "special deputy for citizenship rights" will work with government departments to draw up reform plans and check their progress with annual reports.

"One of the major demands of Iranian people is citizenship rights," said Rouhani.

"This bill is a call by the Iranian nation against some arrogant Western countries who think they are ahead of Third World countries in human rights."

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Muslim Global: Iran's Rouhani unveils landmark bill of rights
Iran's Rouhani unveils landmark bill of rights
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