News 15 january — 13:33

Iran's Rouhani wants armed forces to 'apologize'


President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday called for "national unity" and flagged the need for changes to the way Iran is run after the accidental downing of a Ukrainian airliner, AFP reports.

Rouhani also said Iranians want "diversity" as he urged the electoral authorities to refrain from disqualifying would-be candidates for a February 21 general election.

"The people are our masters and we are its servants. The servant must address the master with modesty, precision and honesty," Rouhani said after a cabinet meeting.

"The people want to make sure that the authorities treat them with sincerity, integrity and trust," he said in the remarks aired live on state television.

Rouhani also said the armed forces should "apologise" and fully explain what happened in the air disaster, which came hours after they fired a wave of missiles at US troops stationed in Iraq.

Referring to the spate of disasters which he described as "unimaginable" and "unacceptable", Rouhani said they should lead to a "big decision" about Iran's political system.

"And that major decision," he said, "is national reconciliation."

"These (parliamentary) elections must be the first step," said the president.

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