Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, August 15, 2014

Evaluating a president

Majid Rafizadeh, writing on the Al Arabiya web site, offers this evaluation of the first year of Iranian President Rowhani's first year in office.

Iran: One year under Rowhani the pragmatist
Rowhani at the UN
How has President Rowhani addressed the critical issues on Tehran’s agenda in his first year and has he succeeded in fulfilling his promises?

To his credit, Rowhani’s policies on rapprochement with the West and stance on Iran’s nuclear program has alleviated the threat partially.

According to the International Monetary Fund, the Islamic Republic’s economy has been stabilized and has grown by one to two percent, rather than contracting…

In the first year under his presidency, President Hassan Rowhani’s strategy has primarily focused on spending a significant amount of political capital on foreign policy rather than domestic policies…

[B]y striking the nuclear interim deal with the P5+1 (the United States, Russia, France, China, the United Kingdom, plus Germany), President Hassan Rowhani and his technocrat nuclear team were successful in obtaining sanctions relief-- worth about $7 billion…

With regards to diplomatic headways and the relationships between the Islamic Republic and the United States, Rowhani managed to break several taboos in the Islamic Republic including the historic phone call between him and President Barack Obama. Currently, officials from Iran and the US regularly speak with each other either in nuclear talks in Europe or through various social networks.

In addition, President Hassan Rowhani’s administration has managed to normalize diplomatic relationships with the United Kingdom…

President Rouhani voiced his support for the Syrian government… Even after the use of chemical weapons against the civilians in Syria, Rowhani’s administration has not shifted its support and policies towards President Bashar al-Assad.

In addition, under Rowhani’s administration, the Islamic Republic continues to support non state regional actors such as Hezbollah and Hamas…
In terms of the domestic economy, Rowhani’s administration carried out some fiscal and monetary policies such as removing some of the subsidies and increasing the prices in the energy sector… 
[T]he rate of inflation is still around 30 percent , which still posses hardship on eighty million ordinary Iranian people. In addition, the unemployment rate is still in double digits.

When it comes to human rights and freedoms, President Hassan Rowhani has not made progress. According to Human Rights Watch, there has been “no sign of improvement”…

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