February 21, 2014 | Quote
Rouhani Away From Nuclear Glare Can’t Move Domestic Agenda
Away from the glare of the nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, President Hassan Rouhani has endured a series of setbacks and retreats on his domestic agenda.
This week, Rouhani lost a key foreign policy adviser, for the offense of wearing a tie at Davos, and saw the judiciary, which is controlled by hardliners, shut down a reformist newspaper that had supported his government.
Following Rouhani’s election victory last June, many Iranians expressed hopes he would allow greater political and cultural freedoms. While his government has won limited sanctions relief as part of November’s interim nuclear deal, he has had little success on the domestic front.
On this issue too, Rouhani is being challenged by the Revolutionary Guards. A week before the nuclear talks, the Guards tested a new generation of ballistic missiles. That was in defiance of an order from Rouhani’s government to postpone the annual test, said Ali Alfoneh, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
“The IRGC’s positions are consistently at odds with the stated goals of Rouhani’s diplomatic initiatives,” Alfoneh said in a report.