Hassan Rouhani's election as Iranian president has met with cautious optimism (photo:dpa)

The hurdles facing ‘Moderate’ Rouhani to improve ties between Iran and the West

Iran’s election of the moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani as president is seen as ushering in a new age of openness both within the country and with the West. It is arguably a victory all round. It has emboldened the country’s reform movement which hopes the economy will benefit and the regime’s tight security presence will lessen. It is a win for Iran’s conservative powers and theocratic authority by indicating that the country has a legitimate democracy and social stability. And it is a win for the West which can now negotiate in a climate of cooling tensions. But this calm and optimism belies the task ahead of him – with stakes so high both for Iran and the rest of the world.


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Dr. Udo Steinbach
The election result itself demonstrates that there are strong forces in Iranian society that want change
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