Hasan Rouhani’s convincing election to the Iranian presidency may finally turn the page on eight contentious years of outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s leadership. The president-elect, who takes office Aug. 3, has expressed his desire to ease tensions with the United States.
In particular, Rouhani has shown interest in a new round of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, but he made clear in his first post-election press conference that he has no intention of accepting a moratorium on uranium enrichment.
This stance lines up with his historical views: Nine years ago, as chief nuclear negotiator, Rouhani compared the controversy around Iran’s pursuit of nuclear technology to that surrounding Brazil’s pursuit of the same technology several decades ago. Once the Brazilians completed their nuclear fuel cycle against the wishes of the West, he said in 2004, “the world started to work with them.”