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A new Iranian president may bring reconciliation with the West

Could former nuclear negotiator help bring Iran in from the cold? Gareth Smyth for Tehran Bureau 24 April 2013  Presidential candidate Hassan Rowhani may have the credentials to steer Iran to a diplomatic breakthrough Hassan Rowhani was considered an early frontrunner in the runup to the 2005 Iranian presidential election, before eventually deciding not to run.

The former nuclear negotiator’s entry into the 2013 election, then, carries a hint of deja vu. Leading the Iranian delegation in the 2003-05 nuclear talks with Europe, Rowhani took Iran the nearest it has come to a substantive diplomatic agreement with the west since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Nearly a decade later, could a Rowhani presidency lead to a diplomatic breakthrough, easing Iran back from punitive sanctions and the possibility of US or Israeli attack?

It is a tall order. To win the election, he will need to convince voters he is a man of the future and not the past. And to reach international agreement over the nuclear programme, he will need to succeed where he previously failed in bringing together Iran’s Islamic leadership and western powers whose real goal – many in Iran believe – is to overthrow the Islamic republic.

Perhaps Rowhani has as good credentials as anyone for such a task. Essentially a pragmatic conservative, the 64-year-old cleric is an insider of the Islamic establishment……..


April 25, 2013 - Posted by | general

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