What Does Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s New Reformist Leader, Mean For Baha’is in Iran?

{josquote}It’s likely Iran’s Baha’is will not see any strong action from Rouhani in their favor, but they may see an alleviation of persecution of their communities.{/josquote}

On Saturday, after Iranians turned out en masse to vote in Iran’s presidential elections, the tallied votes were called in favor Hassan Rouhani, a long-time politician, lawyer and cleric. International media have proclaimed Rouhani Iran’s “Reformist candidate”, his politics a “moderate” alternative to the hardline policies of Ahmadinajed. Celebrations in support of the President-elect have flooded have overwhelmed Tehran, according to media reports, and Iran’s liberal voters see Rouhani as a new beginning for Iranian politics.

It will be difficult for the President-elect to institute real change under Supreme Leader Ali Khameni, who commands his own unit of the Revolutionary Guard and will be able to supersede presidential edicts. The problems that perpetuate discrimination and persecution against ethnic and religious minorities in Iran are systematic and will be difficult to overcome for Rouhani, especially as conservatives and hardliners dominate all sectors of government, religious and democratic. Rouhani will have a hard time asserting his “moderate” agenda.

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