Iran’s Rouhani under fire over ‘peace time’ promises

Al-Monitor – “I made those [election campaign] promises during the peace time, but we later entered a state of war, one which we did not choose or start,” Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani declared at a ceremony commemorating National Petrochemical Industry Day, on Dec. 30.

Rouhani swept two consecutive landslides in 2013 and in 2017 on a platform of economic prosperity among a host of other pledges, including on civil and political freedoms. To ease the burden on Iran’s already battered economy, his government redirected nearly all efforts toward lifting US and international sanctions that were in place before his presidency over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program.

Clinching a multilateral accord — known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — with major world powers in 2015, the Rouhani government raised public hopes after materializing part of the much-needed economic relief. That, however, proved fleeting after US President Donald Trump walked away from the deal in May 2018. The withdrawal triggered a reimposition of US sanctions, throwing Iran’s economic status nearly back to square one.

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