Iran leader suggests direct votes on issues

TEHRAN — Iran’s president said Sunday that he might invoke a powerful but neglected tool in his fight with hard-liners, suggesting the possibility of organizing direct referendums that would bypass the institutions the conservatives control and give more of a voice to Iranian voters.

President Hassan Rouhani, speaking during a conference on the country’s economic problems, said that Iranians were entitled to have major issues put to a nationwide vote, as described in the 1979 Constitution.

“It will be good to, after 36 years, even for once, or even every 10 years if we implement this principle of the Constitution, and put important economic, social and cultural issues to a direct referendum instead of to the Parliament,” Mr. Rouhani said.