April 5, 2015


Hassan Rouhani: reformist insider who has ended Iran's isolation : The Iranian president has long carried the hopes of his country's reformists. Now, thanks to last week's nuclear deal with the US, the pragmatist has made good on his promise (Emma Graham-Harrison, 4 April 2015, The Guardian)

Nearly two years after Hassan Rouhani was elected Iran's president and began the slow process of rebuilding trust with Washington, a nuclear deal was reached last week in Switzerland. His nation promised to make drastic cuts to its nuclear programme in return for the gradual lifting of sanctions as part of a historic breakthrough in Lausanne that could end a 13-year nuclear standoff.

"Today is a day that will remain in the historical memory of the Iranian nation," the moderate cleric said shortly after the deal was announced, as he thanked Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, without whose approval he could never have stepped up engagement with the west.

Rouhani swept to a surprise landslide victory in Iran's 2013 presidential elections as a candidate of curious contradictions - a cleric from the heart of the political establishment who carried the battered hopes of reformists.

A former nuclear negotiator who had preached and practised moderation and compromise, he promised Iranians that he would be the candidate to end their country's isolation, without also ending its peaceful nuclear programme.

It was an ambitious pledge that would be battered by the opposition of hardliners at home, in western capitals and Israel, and until last week no one was really sure if he could pull it off.

Sometimes it takes awhile, but electorates get what they want. It's why it was foolish (and counter-productive) to fear the Muslim Brotherhood.

Posted by at April 5, 2015 6:55 PM

blog comments powered by Disqus