Mr. Rouhani lamented the decades-long mentality according to which a central authoritative power should dominate the peripheries; “this mentality culminated in Reza Shah’s era, espoused a strategy of iron fist where ethnic and religious minorities found no opportunity to live their social and political life,” he told the meeting. “The mentality still is in the currency in some countries; we believe however that ethnic diversity provides opportunities for a country, and that ethnic and religious minorities should be given equal opportunities and rooms for social and political activity, a sort of peaceful symbiosis the Revolution of 1979 sought to be realized,” he continued.
Rouhani reiterated his government’s doctrine of convergence of ethnic and religious minorities in the path to consolidate national culture and unity; “the Draft Citizenship Rights Charter will be soon inaugurated and the public will find the government’s initiative in action,” he told the meeting.
He admitted that in the border regions there have been problems of underdevelopment, where the government should work to improve the economic lots of the citizens; “our Shia and Sunni scholars had equally contributed to this boiling pot of rich culture of the Orient; all classical poets and Sufis are source of honor for all Iranians regardless of their religion, and all should receive due respect in par with their prestige in the centuries ago,” he rejoiced to say.
“Gender equality is also no less important along with ethnic and religious equality; I proposed a minister be chosen from Sunni communities; even a deputy-minister had been from Sunni brethren, a conduct well-received by the government; we should have Sunni women governors and the emphasis has been doubled in sessions with the cabinet,” Rouhani emphasized.
“Government is responsible to vindicate any rights undeservedly denied for any minority; efforts have been directed in that ideal path, however, there has been glitches and lack of coordination in some areas, to be honest,” he concluded.