On Saturday, May 20, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was re-elected for a second term having received 57 percent of the votes in the election.
56-year-old former prosecutor-general and hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi, main opponent from the conservative camp, received only 38 percent of the votes. Thus, reformists and moderates earned a vote of confidence from the people to complete their socio-economic transformation.
The first Rouhani’s term was characterized by reaching agreement with the West on the Iranian nuclear program (INP) in the middle of 2015 and the withdrawal of the greater part of Western sanctions. This greatly improved the national economy. Big Western companies, including some American, took advantage of this opportunity to increase its presence in the lucrative Iranian market. Rouhani’s victory creates preconditions for maintaining a favorable climate for potential foreign investors.
One of the key problems of Iran's economy remains the high unemployment rate in the country, especially among young people; according to unofficial data, it is up to 30 percent. The thesis about support of the younger generation has become one of the main ideas in the election campaign of Rouhani. The head of state announced the launch of the state program on socio-economic development of the rural areas, which involves the opening of the manufactures and the creation of a large number of jobs for young specialists in rural areas across the country. The re-election of Rouhani was welcomed by the Iranian intelligency and city residents.
Rouhani comes to the office against the background of harsh anti-Iranian rhetoric from Washington and its Middle East allies. The 2017 Riyadh summits held on 20-21 May with participation of the U.S. President, the Saudi leadership, and the leaders of the majority Arab-Muslim countries was largely devoted to countering the threat to regional security that supposedly comes from Iran. In his speech the U.S. President said about the need to isolate Tehran in the international arena. In his turn, the U.S. Secretary Rex W. Tillerson urged Rouhani “to stop the financing of terror.”
Definitely, the victory of reformist Hassan Rouhani gives the hope that the relations between Iran and Western countries will manage to avoid a confrontational scenario. Obviously, the priority of the Iranian leader will be the further implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to resolve the situation around the Iranian nuclear program to prevent the introduction of new economic sanctions against Iran. Implementation of Rouhani’s election promises to guarantee individual and political freedoms, ensure gender equality, and expand access to the Internet can have a positive impact on relations between the Islamic Republic and the West.