The election of Iran’s new president, Hassan Rohani, in June came a surprise to many. The 64 year old is known for his moderate views and openness for dialogue with the West.
The youth of the Islamic Republic of Iran have celebrated his election. They expect the new president to give the economy a boost, improve the value of the national currency, modernise the rail system, reduce the number of unemployed while at the same time give Iranians more civil liberties.
Hassan Rohani received the backing of former Iranian presidents Akbar Hachemi Rafsandjani and Mohammed Kahtami. They asked voters to support the newly elected president.
Since before the revolution, Rohani was a fervent supporter of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, and served as a deputy in the Iranian parliament from 1980 until 2000. Rohani has a law doctorate from the University of Glasgow. He also held the role of Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, which brought him to negotiating table over Iran’s nuclear programme. He accepted the suspension of uranium enrichment and the application of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons., which permitted the surprise inspections of Iranian nuclear installations.
Rohani’s openness could signal a change in the relationship Iran has with the West following the eight strained years of the Ahmadinejad presidency.
Despite the expected changes in Iran, the new president is limited because the Islamic Republic’s constitution states that strategic issues such as the country’s nuclear policies are controlled by the Supreme Leader. However, he has a close relationship with Ali Khamenei.