Middle East

Iran's president lashes out at hard-liners over human rights

In this photo released by official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani, right, and Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Yukiya Amano shake hands for media at the start of their meeting at the Presidency office in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

In this photo released by official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani, right, and Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Yukiya Amano shake hands for media at the start of their meeting at the Presidency office in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Iran's president has lashed out at the country's hard-liners, accusing them of ignoring human rights he said are enshrined in the constitution.

Without naming names, Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech that "some individuals do not like to hear about some of the articles" in the constitution and prefer to "ignore" the charter's Chapter 3 on the rights of the people.

He was referring to the part of the charter that was approved in 1979, supporting social and individual freedoms.

Rouhani spoke on Monday at the launch of a book compiling 120 articles on Iran's rights-related laws, codes and regulations, entitled "Charter of Citizenship Rights."

The move is apparently Rouhani's attempt to appeal to the liberal-minded among the country's middle class ahead of the May presidential elections.