Iran’s Rouhani shows spark of old self against hard-liners

Al-monitor | : In the past few weeks, Iran’s moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, has sought to defy hard-liners by bringing up controversial issues in his speeches.

During the past two years, Rouhani has disillusioned his fans and supporters who assumed that he would be committed to his promises: increasing social and political freedom and solving the long-standing dilemmas the country faces, including Tehran-Washington ties.

What prompted people to stand behind Rouhani in the 2017 election was in part their recollection of his image from the 2013 race. Voters then were attracted to his risky courage: After becoming president, he crossed red lines by speaking with then-US President Barack Obama, and helped jump-start the 2015 nuclear deal, which was seen as a stepping stone for gradual normalization of bilateral relationships.

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