Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, July 28, 2017

Oblique politics

You don't give up on political attacks just because you lost an election.

Iran cases step up pressure on President Rouhani
Two high-profile judiciary cases in Iran this weekend have underlined renewed political tensions between the country's recently re-elected president, Hassan Rouhani, and establishment hardliners.

The first case involves the arrest of the president's own brother, and the second an American academic jailed for 10 years after being convicted of espionage…

Although he did not occupy any official position Mr Ferydoun was present at the high-level international nuclear negotiations over Iran's nuclear programme, acting as the president's "eyes and ears"…

The second case, which made headlines around the world, was the 10-year prison sentence for Xiyue Wang, a Princeton post-graduate history student who was in Iran doing research for a doctoral thesis on late 19th Century and early 20th Century history…

Whether by coincidence or part of a meticulous plan, both cases share one important aspect: both will put President Rouhani in a difficult position, both at home and abroad, as he begins a second term facing big challenges to fulfil the expectations of an electorate hoping for reform and economic progress…

It's still too early to predict what the outcome will be for both of these current cases, and the details are still too sketchy.

One thing is certain though - both cases carry a very strong message to a president who very publicly challenged the establishment, judiciary and revolutionary guards during recent presidential campaigns, accusing them of not only sabotaging nuclear negotiations but also his domestic plans for reforming Iran's politics and economy.

They are accusations that the hardliners are not likely to forget and one for which they will be seeking revenge.

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