President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi was sworn in before Iran's Parliament on Thursday in a ceremony attended by top-ranking Iranian officials and foreign dignitaries.
"In the presence of the holy Qur'an and before the nation, I swear to the omnipotent God to safeguard the official religion of the country and the Islamic Republic as well as the country’s Constitution," Raeisi said, as he took the oath of office to become Iran's eighth president.
The former judiciary chief officially began his four-year term on Tuesday when Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei endorsed his victory in the June election.
He took over from Hassan Rouhani, whose landmark achievement during his two-term presidency was the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers, from which former US president Donald Trump withdrew in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Raeisi said Thursday he will support "any diplomatic plans" to lift US sanctions but that foreign pressure will not make Iran back down from its rights.
The 61-year-old president pledged to take steps to lift draconian US sanctions that have cut Iran's oil exports and denied access to the international banking system.
"The Iranian people expect the new government to improve their livelihoods ... All illegal US sanctions against the Iranian nation must be lifted," Raeisi said after being sworn in.
"We will support any diplomatic plans that will realize this goal," he said.
But "the policy of pressure and sanctions will not cause the nation of Iran to back down from following up on its legal rights," he added, while reiterating Tehran's official position of pursuing solely peaceful nuclear technology.
Six rounds of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers were held in Vienna between April and June in an attempt to revive the nuclear deal known as the JCPOA. The last round concluded on June 20, with no date set for another.
Under the JCPOA, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for the lifting of international sanctions
In reaction to Raeisi’s statements, the United States urged Iran to resume talks "soon".
Raeisi also vowed to "work to improve the economy to resolve the nation's problems".
“The Iranian nation expects us to fulfill our promise for establishing a government [based on] dispensing justice and fighting corruption and discrimination.”
“The administration has arisen from the will of the nation to meet the interests of people and dispense justice; [therefore,] it will stand fast and will move in this direction tirelessly,” he added.
Raeisi also said he would make utmost efforts to serve more than 80 million Iranians.
“A government arising from people is an administration of national unity in which political factions as well as ethnic, religious and group-based demarcations have no place."
Strengthening cooperation among the three branches of the government, Raeisi highlighted, is crucial under the current sensitive circumstances "and no opportunity should be lost for serving people."
Ties with neighbors
He also emphasized that one of his government's main foreign policy priorities will be improving relations with neighboring and regional countries.
"I extend the hand of friendship and brotherhood to all countries in the region, especially our neighbors," he said.
He noted that Iran's regional "capabilities support the peace of security of countries" and would only be used "against the threats of oppressive powers".
Raeisi had previously said there are "no obstacles" to restoring ties with Saudi Arabia.
Iran and Saudi Arabia have been engaged in talks hosted by Iraq since April with the aim of improving relations.
Ties between the regional rivals were cut in 2016 after Iranian protesters stormed Saudi diplomatic missions in the wake of the execution of a revered Shia cleric in the Arab kingdom.
Press TV, AFP and Reuters contributed to this story.