Iran’s Sunni leader endorses Rouhani for re-election

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani. (President.ir/Handout/File Photo via Reuters)
Updated 13 May 2017

Iran’s Sunni leader endorses Rouhani for re-election

TEHRAN: A leading figure of Iran’s minority Sunnis endorsed moderate President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday ahead of this week’s election, despite the government’s “shortcomings.”
Sunnis make up around five to 10 percent of Iran’s 80 million population, which is overwhelmingly Shiite.
Religious leader Molavi Abdol Hamid said “the atmosphere for Sunnis has been a little more relaxed” since Rouhani took power in 2013, and that most would support him in Friday’s election.
Abdol Hamid repeated calls for greater Sunni representation in local and national government, and more action on discrimination.
“The Sunni community believes that this government, despite its problems and weaknesses, has had more strong points, and we hope if the current government takes office again, it will do more to resolve those problems and shortcomings,” he said in comments carried by his website.
He was speaking in Sistan Baluchistan province, a Sunni-majority region in southeastern Iran bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Rouhani is leading in official polls, but faces a tough fight for re-election against conservative rivals who accuse him of failing to boost the struggling economy.


Banks in Lebanon reopen amid security increase

Updated 50 min 10 sec ago

Banks in Lebanon reopen amid security increase

  • Two security guards will be placed in front of each bank, and security patrols will be conducted in cities

BEIRUT: Banks in Lebanon will reopen on Tuesday after the Association of Banks in Lebanon approved measures to ease the anger of depositors and customers. 

More than 3,000 members of Beirut’s police, the regional gendarmerie, the judicial police, and the information division of the Internal Security Forces will provide protection to banks and their employees, who carried out an open strike for a week.

They did so due to customers’ anger over measures applied by banks on withdrawals and transfers amid Lebanon’s severe political and economic crisis, which sparked mass protests that have been ongoing for 33 days.

Two security guards will be placed in front of each bank, and security patrols will be conducted in cities.

The Association of Banks in Lebanon decided on Sunday to “stop restrictions on new funds transferred from abroad, provided that remittances abroad only cover urgent personal expenses.”

It also decided to lift restrictions on the circulation of checks, transfers, and the use of credit cards in Lebanon. 

As for the use of credit cards abroad, ceilings are determined by agreements between banks and customers.

The association has determined a maximum cash withdrawal rate of $1,000 per week for holders of current accounts in dollars, while checks issued in foreign currencies will be transferred into their account.

It has also urged customers to “use their credit cards, especially in Lebanese pounds, to buy their needs.”

Meanwhile, protesters are preparing to block roads leading to Parliament in the heart of Beirut on Tuesday, to prevent a legislative session from taking place. The session had already been postponed for a week.

In an attempt to placate protesters, the presidential palace’s media office said the president has ordered investigations into “financial crimes, waste, forgery, money laundering and suspicious transactions,” as well as “negligence at work, promotion of counterfeit medicines and suspicious reconciliation contracts.”