At last, some good news from the Islamic republic of Iran

I’m encouraged by the news that Hassan Rouhani has won the presidential election in Iran. In a tum-out of around 72%, he managed to take over 50% of the votes.

The victory may seem ironic, given  that Rouhani was the only cleric among the six candidates, but he appears to be the most committed to reform and has an interesting record as a PhD studnet in Scotland and a former leader of Iran’s nuclear negotations with the international community. He is probably the only political leader in the world who is fluent in English, German, French, Russian and Arabic.

Of course, it remain to be seen just how liberal he behaves in office – and indeed how liberal he is allowed to be by the Supreme Leader and the religious and military establishment. The power structure in Iran is complex and opaque, as I pointed out in my book review.

What is not in doubt, however, is the strong desire for reform from the majority of the Iranian people. I expereienced this when my wife and I were on holiday in Iran shortly fater the last presidential election which was certainly manipulated. You can read my overall assessment of the visit here.



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