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Rouhani: 'End to meddling in Iranians' private lives"

Iranian president-elect Hassan Rouhani calls for the government and powerful clergy to end interference and free up internet access for Iranians.

Iranian president-elect Hassan Rouhani called yesterday for the government and powerful clergy to end interference in the private lives of the Iranian people, free up internet access and for state media to be more open about Iran's problems.

Mr Rouhani's comments begin to flesh out his message of moderation at home and better relations abroad that led to his surprise election win last month.

His victory prompted a huge outpouring of support from Iranians hungry for change after eight years of tight security and confrontation under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"There shouldn't be any rift or division between the government or the clergy especially at a time when people have pinned their hopes on seeing some sort of change in society," Mr Rouhani, a mid-ranking cleric told fellow clergy in Tehran.

"We need a strong society, a strong government. Today the ground has been prepared for popular participation. The people have pinned their hopes on the future," he said.

Filtering the internet in Iran, stepped up after social media was used to encourage and coordinate large protests following the disputed 2009 presidential election, had proved ineffective, Mr Rouhani said on Twitter.

"Which important piece of news has filtering been able to blackout in recent years?" he asked.

At he same time, he criticised state broadcaster IRIB for ignoring issues inside Iran.

The state has a monopoly over terrestrial television in Iran and though satellite receivers are banned and foreign news broadcasts are often blocked, many Iranians tune in to US and Europe-based channels beaming news and entertainment into the Islamic Republic.

"When IRIB airs the birth of a panda in China but nothing about unpaid workers protesting, it is obvious that the people and youth will ignore it," Mr Rouhani tweeted.

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