SearchA new Iran?

A new Iran? ...
dailytimes.com.pk 04/05/2016 Politics

Keywords:#2015, #Ahmadinejad, #Ali_Khamenei, #Arabia, #Ayatollah, #Ayatollah_Ali_Khamenei, #Bashar_al-Assad, #Beijing, #Chinese, #Chinese_President, #Dailytimes.com.pk, #Germany, #Hassan_Rouhani, #Iran, #Iranian, #Iranian_Revolution, #Joint_Comprehensive_Plan_of_Action, #Khamenei, #Khatami, #Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad, #Middle_East, #Mohammad_Khatami, #Muslim, #Nations, #Pahlavi, #Permanent_Five_Members, #President, #Revolution, #Rouhani, #Saudi, #Saudi_Arabia, #Security_Council, #Shia, #Syria, #Tehran, #United_Nations, #United_Nations_Security_Council, #United_States, #Vienna, #Xi

Reformists allied with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are set to gain victory in the run-off elections held during last week. These gains are of huge significance as it is the first time since 2005 when moderates will form a potential majority in the Iranian parliament, provided the independent candidates join them. This victory is much needed for President Rouhani who wishes to liberalise the Iranian economy and invite the West to invest in Iran. The new developments are said to be without the blessing of the powerful clergy led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Clergy held absolute control over Iranian affairs after the Pahlavi dynasty was toppled during the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
The gradual rise of reformists may eventually curtail the clergy’s powers, as a large number of new generation Iranians believes in moderation and people-to-people contact with the West. The electoral victory would be conducive to make changes, and this may be the first time since the revolution that the majority of Iranians would seek resumption of relations with western powers, especially the United States. On the contrary, conservatives such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used to enjoy vast support due to populism-based politics. However, their rigid stance on certain matters such as the controversial Iranian nuclear programme had a negative impact on the economic prospects. These prospects were further shattered by international sanctions despite a workable economy that heavily relied on oil exports. Iran’s currency depreciated over the years and foreign investment was below optimal levels owing to strong sanctions imposed by global powers.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA) agreed with the United Nations Security Council Permanent Five Members plus Germany at Vienna during July 2015 paved way for the Iranian economy to be part of the global system. Subsequently, sanctions were gradually lifted, and foreign investors started taking interest in economic interests of Iran. Chinese President Xi Jingping’s recent visit to Tehran was of great importance as Beijing-Tehran bilateral trade is expected to increase up to 600 billion dollars over the next decade or so. It was also the first major visit to Iran by a high profile global leader ever since the sanctions were lifted.
It is to be noted that Iran may have resolved issues related to its sanctions much earlier had former president, Mohammad Khatami’s relatively modernist regime managed to convince global powers regarding Iran’s allegedly peaceful nuclear programme. Talks were initiated back in 2003, but the rise of the conservatives under Ahmadinejad during 2005 phased out such prospects. Iran is already a major middle-power in the Middle East and enjoys great influence over certain regimes such as Bashar al-Assad-led Syria. It is hoped that the reformists shall place Iran’s priorities in the right direction, and work on implementing policies in Iran that would be for the short and long term good of Iran as well as that of the region. Iran is a hugely important country in terms of its strategic position, as well as its influence on the Shia populations all over the world. A peaceful and prosperous Iran will not just be good for Iranians, and the neghbouring region, but also for the entire Muslim world, balancing the power-equation in the region with Saudi Arabia. It is hoped for the good of the region, and subsequently, world peace at large, that Saudi Arabia and Iran put aside their hegemonic, self-serving agendas, and united they work for the greater good of all the countries in the region. *
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