Who is Hassan Rohani?
Hassan Rohani has been elected as the successor to Mahmoud Ahmedinejad as Iran’s new president.
Rohani was born in 1948, studied religion at an early age and went to religious seminaries he has always been interested in learning modern sciences and received a master’s degree in public law along with a doctorate at Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland.
He began his political career in the 19600s by following the exiled leader of the Islamic movement, Ayatollah Khomeini. Rohani continued to be outspoken against the Shah up until 1977, when he was forced to flee Iran after publically declaring Khomeini an “imam”.
After the overthrow of the Shah in 1979, Rohani returned to Iran.
Rohani has held multiple positions:
1. Secretary and Representative of the Supreme National Security Council
2. Member of the Assembly of Experts
3. Member of the Expediency Discernment Council
4. President of the Center for Strategic Research
5. Iran’s top nuclear negotiator from October 2003-2005
Rohani had always been an outspoken critic of Ahmadinejad, he resigned his post as Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005.
Will Things Be Different After Ahmadinejad?
Ahmadinejad’s eight years in power can be summed up in a few words describing not much more than economic turmoil and Western isolation over his nuclear ambitions.
The question that buzzes in many minds now is simple enough; will a post-Ahmadinejad Iran be a better one?
It’s highly unlikely but people hold on to hope.
Rohani no doubt has won and there is hope for reformers after the command of hardliners during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's era. But he faces extreme challenge from the very hardliners. Also, not much happens in Iran against the “Supreme Leader’s” consent.
Though Iran duly elects a president every four year, he just has the duty of running the day-today affairs of the country. It’s the Supreme Leader who has the highest ranking political as well as religious authority. The right to run for president is strongly controlled by the Supreme Leader.
As such, it is Ali Hosseini Khamenei, the current the Supreme Leader of Iran that has all the say.
Under Khamenei Iran has been and will be a conservative Islamic state. The Supreme Leader is strictly against Iranian students pursuing and practicing music, art and traveling abroad to "the land of non-believers" and has already disqualified a number of candidates including all female candidates.
And as if to cement his position, it was Khameni who cast the first vote on June 14th and if that wasn’t enough, stated, "Among those running ... I had someone in mind who I chose. I haven't told anyone of my vote".
Adding his opinion on western misgivings over the credibility of the elections, his comment was simple, "We don't give a damn."
Ideally a new president should bring a change, in the image of the country as well as the socio-economic matters. However, though the new president will take charge of economic policy, not much will change.
Iran's economy is in its worst state for decades, with high inflation, rising unemployment and negative growth mainly due to the international ban on the purchase of Iranian oil and US sanctions. However, even though the moderate Rohani has managed to win, under the circumstances things are highly unlikely to change much.