Hassan Rohani, the only cleric among presidential candidates in the elections of Iran was selected as the country’s new leader. His win is a step in the direction for repairing the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic. Reformist groups faced harsh sanctions upon unrest four years ago due to disputed poll results.
Rohani, a trained lawyer serves on the board of the Assembly of Experts. The Assembly, the top religious body in Iran, nominates the supreme leader. He is also the head of the Center for Strategic Research at the Expediency Council.
Rohani’s clean cut image is a departure from the unkempt and casual dress of Ahmadinejad. Rohani has a master’s degree and doctorate law degree from Glasgow Caledonian University. It is believed under his leadership relations will be much improved with the U.S.
“Rohani is an ideal candidate to spearhead a new initiative to wrest Iran from its debilitating battle with the international community over the nuclear issue,” stated Suzanne Maloney, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy in Washington.
Critics are hesitating to hail the winning cleric of the Iran elections as an embodiment of change for the country. “The Obama administration isn’t likely to offer too much too quick and any new president in Iran will have to proceed carefully before signing onto a deal,” Maloney said. “But it should dramatically alter the discussion and deflate the urgency to some degree.”
“Though hardliners remain in control of key aspects of Iran’s political system, the centrists and reformists have proven that, even when the card are stacked against them, they can still prevail due to their support among the population,” said Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian-American Council in Washington and author of “A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran.”
As a presidential candidate Rohani voiced his credence, dialogue and interaction with the world was key to his administration he emphasized. He was also concerned with the economy noting that sanctions shouldn’t be solely accredited with the nation’s problems.
Rohani will seek the approval of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the country’s ultimate authority, to initiate change in Iran.
Rohani, only cleric candidate, win in the Iran election was reflective of a 50.7 percent tally of 37 million votes counted, according to Interior Ministry figures.
By Thomas Barr
Hassan Rohani becomes Iran’s new president