Rohani.
Iranian President Hassan Rohani. Photo by AFP
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Rohani, third right, speaks in an endorsement ceremony led by Khamenei, center, in Tehran, August 3, 2013. Photo by AP

Iranian President Hassan Rohani took the oath of office before parliament in Tehran on Sunday and has begun naming his cabinet.

Rohani, a relatively moderate cleric who replaces Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was sworn in during an open session of parliament on Sunday. Leaders and other representatives from more than 50 countries, mostly from the region, attended the ceremony.

It was the first time since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution that foreign dignitaries attended the swearing-in ceremony of an Iranian president, underscoring Rohani's stated commitment to improving the country's foreign ties.

Iran's new president has nominated the country's former ambassador to the United Nations Mohammad Javad Zarif as foreign minister and picked Bijan Zanganeh to return to the post of oil minister which he held under the reformist government from 1997 to 2005.

Cabinet nominations have to be approved by parliament. The speaker of parliament said the assembly would review the nominees in the next week.

Iran's media and officials have treated Rohani as president since Saturday, when he was endorsed by the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Also on Saturday, Iranian state TV quoted Rohani as saying that the United States is seeking an excuse to confront Iran over its nuclear program. According to the report, the remarks came during a meeting with a North Korean official who is visiting Tehran for the inauguration.

On Friday, the Iranian leader was quoted as saying that Israel is "a wound that has sat on the body of the Muslim world for years and needs to be removed," but Iranian state television then clarified that his remarks were distorted.

The quote by Press TV was later corrected to: “After all, in our region, there's been a wound for years on the body of the Muslim world under the shadow of the occupation of the holy land of Palestine and the beloved [city of] al-Quds."

Responding to the reports, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office on Saturday stated, "We are standing 100% by our [earlier] statement regarding Rohani. We knew the Iranians would hurry to deny it, but we are not retracting our statement."

Netanyahu's statement was later removed from his official twitter account and another was posted on Sunday, which said, "president of Iran has been replaced but goal of regime remains as it was."