Hassan Rowhani has been a key regime member for years and hopes that Iran's policies will be more moderate under his presidency are delusional, the main exiled opposition group said Saturday.
The Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a secular group widely seen as the most potent anti-regime group, saw no cause for cheer as Rowhani took office.
"Talking about a moderate president in the religious fascism ruling Iran, where the power and all key institutions are controlled by the supreme leader, is nothing but deception," NCRI leader Maryam Rajavi said in a statement.
Rowhani is seen as a more moderate than his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but much of the political power in Iran rests with the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
"For the past three decades, Rowhani has been an insider and key figure in the regime's military, security and intelligence system," Rajavi said.
"The Iranian regime will try once again to deceive the international community under the pretext of a new president and buy more time for its dangerous projects," she said.
Rajavi cited Iran's nuclear programme, support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and influence in neighbouring Syria.
In his inaugural address, Rowhani said his government's priorities would be "saving Iran's economy and (establishing) constructive engagement with the world."