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Iran’s Structural Constraints Limit Rouhani’s Domestic Agenda

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was elected in June 2013 on a ticket of change, amid hope for improvements in both domestic and foreign affairs. His constituents were, and still are, hoping for an easing of the political atmosphere, a less stifling environment on university campuses, a more predictable and stable style of governance and, most importantly, a reversal of the economic decline that has impoverished Iranians in the past 3-4 years.

In many ways, most of the promises on this electoral laundry list hinge on the last item—turning the Iranian economy around. This plays into but is not the sole reason for the change in Iran’s approach and tactics in international negotiations on the nuclear issue. Progress in those talks would entail the lifting of U.S. and European Union sanctions on Iran, which have exacerbated the problems of an already badly managed economy. Their removal would allow the Iranian economy to not just cope, but to grow. ...

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