President Hassan Rouhani visited Sana’a, Yemen, on Monday. The State Department said Tuesday he had completed the first leg of a regional tour.
The official visit to Yemen was his first since becoming president in 2013. He visited Oman in May and Pakistan in May, but the president will also stop in North Korea, Afghanistan, and Jordan before departing the United States on Friday.
He was sworn in as Iran’s fifth president in August 2013. He has long been a partner in Obama’s efforts to improve relations with Iran. The relationship had hit a low in the first years of the Obama administration after the United States and other world powers lifted economic sanctions on Iran and the country began to ramp up its nuclear activities. President Donald Trump, a former reality television host, threatened in January 2017 to “totally destroy” North Korea if it continued to threaten the United States. But Rouhani expressed admiration for the young leader, saying he saw his rise to power as “an opportunity to return Iran to its rightful place on the world stage.”
President Rouhani came to power after Iran’s widespread protests ended in June 2017, following a crackdown by security forces that led to the death of hundreds of protestors. Many of those protesters complained about high unemployment and government corruption, as well as widespread corruption within the state-run economy. President Rouhani has held the country’s economy in order, fulfilling the promises of the reformist president Mohammad Khatami.
See more about Rouhani and his administration here.