Iran’s presidential administration has denied accusations that a private residence for President Hassan Rouhani is under construction in Tehran's Jamaran neighborhood.
In a statement on June 20, the president’s office insisted that the 4,000-square-meter (43,000 square feet) property, which was said to be the "personal residence" of the Iranian president, "is in no way privately owned and has also been used by the presidential administration in previous years."
As the property was "half-derelict" and excavated, construction began on the plot last year, in 'full coordination with the Tehran municipality."
In recent days, news of Hassan Rouhani's connection to the "illegal" construction on the site in Jamaran was widely circulated on social media and several websites.
President Rouhani’s term will end next year, and his political future remains uncertain. Hardliners who have been attacking him in recent years are expected to intensify their criticism.
The mayor of Tehran's District One, Hamid Mousavi, told the state-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA) on Saturday, June 20, that the Islamic Republic presidency owns the property, and the Housing Foundation is currently in charge of re-constructing it.
According to Mr. Mousavi, the excavation permit for the residential property was issued six years ago.
However, Mousavi maintained, as construction was underway, the municipality agents noticed that a "half floor was being built regardless of the approved regulations." They demolished it last Friday evening.
Rouhani was "planning to move to Jamaran," Mostafa Faqihi a newspaper editor tweeted, adding, the construction has begun without a proper building permit.
A copy of a petition signed by the residents of Jamaran calling on the municipality to stop building activities on the plot was published by Entekhab website.
A member of the Tehran City Council, Mohammad Javad Haghshenas, retweeted Faghihi's statement, attesting that a violation had indeed occurred, and promised that information on the issue would be provided soon.
Moreover, a video of the demolition of the "third floor" of the building was posted on social media on Friday, and social media users, especially members of the opposition, and critics of President Rouhani's administration, widely covered the news.
Responding to allegations, the presidential office, said in a statement June 20 that construction had begun on the plot to address the neighbors' concerns, who objected to ground having been left excavated.
At the same time, the statement insisted that the property is not residential and personal, and it is a building with administrative use.
The social media news concerning the property "is obvious mischief and has been done with clear intentions," the statement has concluded without elaboration.