September 2, 2015


Two years into Rouhani presidency, Iranians ask for more : Tehran residents welcome nuclear deal but demand delivery on economic campaign promises - six months ahead of parliamentary elections (The Guardian, 2 September 2015)

While Ali's grievances with Rouhani centre on jobs, Marjan, a 40-year old woman who lives in Shariati Street in the affluent north Tehran neighbourhood of Ghalhak, has other concerns.

"I've been at war with the police over my hejab since I was 16," she said. "I voted for Mr Rouhani so he would improve the economy and keep these idiots off the streets. But just this year alone I've been picked up in their vans three times."

By 'vans' Marjan means the police vehicles stationed along the main thoroughfares in central and north Tehran that take women in violation of the dress code to police stations around the city to be processed and usually fined.

"Didn't Rouhani say he wanted to reinstate the rule of law? So do something about it! Is it too much to ask for just one person to stand by his word here?

"I like Rouhani. That he was able to secure the nuclear deal was really something. But everything isn't just about the economy and national security. I'm an educated woman; I have rights. A president is supposed to defend the rights of the people. He's supposed to prevent the police and Basij from doing whatever they want to people in the street. He's not supposed to drag us to heaven, but he also shouldn't leave us stranded in hell."

Other perspectives can be found. Abbas, 42, runs a Samsung outlet on Jomhouri Street, says thing are improving since he fell on hard times after the United States and European Union tightened sanctions in 2012.

"I was almost bankrupt. From 2012 to 2014 it was really bad. Goods were held up in customs and it took all kinds of bribes and shady dealing to free them up. The value of the dollar was jumping up and down each day, so people expected currency fluctuations and they bought less. There were months when I sold only three televisions.

"Even if Rouhani had done nothing else, stabilising the currency was an economic renaissance for Iranians. Now there's some semblance of order in the market, and people are slowly returning to their normal lives. I deal with customers every day. People have calmed down at last, finally they're able to breathe.

"Rouhani is a president who stood by his word. Once the funds free up in the aftermath of the nuclear deal, hopefully the price of the dollar will continue to drop and the market will bounce back. I'm hopeful for Rouhani's last two years. And if he stands a second time, he has my vote."

They voted for normalcy and re-opening trade and an alliance with Anglo-America was an important step, but he's got a lot left to do now that security has been achieved.
Posted by at September 2, 2015 7:38 PM

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