Iran has a new President – Key issues facing the new leader
Posted on June 16th, 2013

Michelle Alexander

Wild celebrations erupted as Hasan Rowhani was elected as the new President as Iran. Viewed as a moderate and reformer, his victory is seen as a signal for change. However, victory in an election does not equate to real influence in changing policies. The new president faces quite a few challenges.

  • The final decision maker, though not the sole decision maker is the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei .
  • Due to the different circles and networks of power, the new president will have to align all these factions together to obtain the necessary backing for his policies
  • Lifting sanctions enforced by the USA and European Union. These sanctions have mainly affected access to global financial networks and oil exports, which is the main foreign currency earner for Iran. Due to these sanctions Iran’s oil sales have been drastically reduced, despite orders continuing to major nations such as India and China under special concessions granted by the USA. The USA may enforce further sanctions to limit gold Iran from July.
  • A combination of sanctions and financial mismanagement has resulted in the Iranian economy heading towards a downward trend. Inflation has increased, and official figures put unemployment at 13%, though it may be higher.
  • Improving diplomatic relations with the USA. Again, this would involve the backing of the various parties involved in policy making, particularly with the Supreme Leader.
  • A series of crackdowns over the years has, in a sense, broken the back of any real opposition movement. Further, the new President will have to contend with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as their power and influence has grown.
  • Improving and strengthening Iran’s role as a major player in the Middle East.

The coming weeks and months would show if President Hasan Rowhani can truly bring much needed change and reform to Iran. But for now, congratulations Mr. President.  

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