Rafsanjani made the remarks in an exclusive interview with Tehran Times and the Mehr news agency.
"I totally approve of Dr. Rouhani. We had cooperation with him since [I was in] Majlis and the [1980-1988 Iraqi imposed] war. Later, he was in the research center [of the Iranian parliament]. When I was the president, he was the head of the country’s Supreme National Security Council. We are very close to him in terms of our way of thinking, and I have no doubt about his qualifications. Considering the current status of the country, he has chosen his cabinet with discretion,” the veteran politician said.
"I think Mr. Rouhani has started his duties very well and his priorities are also chosen wisely. The most important of them are the foreign affairs. We should resolve our foreign issues. The Leader not only does not oppose it, but also encourages that, too,” stated Rafsanjani who was president from 1989 to 1997 for two consecutive terms.
Rafsanjani pointed to Iran’s significant natural resources and its outstanding geography and human resources, saying the country can make great contributions to the international community once it sorts out its relations with world states.
"These are all the power of interaction. If Iran wants to interact with the world, it can make contributions to many places [in the globe] and also secure great interests. It means that our foreign policy should not be aggressive, but interactive, something which we have also advocated,” Rafsanjani added.
"Although we have not been entirely successful in establishing a fully-fledged interactional relationship with the international community, we have secured significant achievements in boosting our relations with many world states.”
Rafsanjani also lauded the massive turnout of people in the February 11 rallies that marked the 36th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.
He acknowledged that people might have some difficulties in their lives, however the majority of the Iranian people are happy and satisfied with the Islamic establishment.
The massive turnout of people in the pro-revolution rallies sends a message to the world that they cannot take hostile approaches in treating the Iranian establishment, he said.
Rafsanjani also underscored the significant role of clergies in resolving the challenges facing the society, urging the country’s religious figures to play a more active role in resolving the country’s issues.
The most important issue to deal with is inflation, he said, noting that the country also faces "widespread” corruption, which needs to be carefully tackled.
Rafsanjani also termed his relations with Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei as "intimate and friendly”. However, he said, it is natural that people have different opinions on certain issues.
"I have never said that we have not had different tastes as it is natural for people to have different tastes. Besides our intimate and friendly relations with the Leader, we have done many things together. It was only natural that we had different tastes,” he said, saying they managed to resolve such differences through compromise.