As we get closer to the deadline for a deal on the nuclear negotiations, the question of “what now” is being asked by more and more people in Iran. The Rouhani government has bought itself time by turning the focus of the masses outwards to the nuclear negotiations, but sooner or later he will have to face the internal situation.
As these lines are being written hundreds of thousands of Iranians have poured onto the streets to celebrate the victory of Hassan Rouhani, in the presidential elections. Pictures of mass celebrations all over Iran are circulating the internet. This is an open defiance of Khamenei and the whole security apparatus of the regime which was dealt a humiliating defeat in the elections.
Yet again the Iranian presidential elections have taken an unforeseen turn. After excluding all his critics and most obvious competitors from the race, Khamenei had thought that he could secure a peaceful campaign period concluding with his handpicked candidate on top. But contrary to his calculations his recent actions have opened up even deeper rifts in the ruling clique. His feeble attempt at forcing unity within the regime has resulted in his faction coming out as the weakest one in the race. At the same time the campaign of Hassan Rouhani has seen a sudden surge in popularity with hundreds of thousands of discontented youth at its mass meetings and rallies.
Yesterday the Guardian Council in Iran announced the names of the eight candidates for the upcoming Presidential elections. The Council is a 12-member body of theologians and jurists, appointed by the Supreme Leader and the head of Judiciary, with responsibility for vetting presidential candidates ahead of the elections, scheduled for 14th June.
This year’s presidential race in Iran was dramatically shaken this week by the news that Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani had announced his candidacy. Although Rafsanjani has fallen out of favour with the regime in recent years, it is quite possible that his bid could be successful.
For the past year Iran has experienced a deepening crisis of capitalism, which in the last few months has spiralled into hyperinflation and devaluation of the currency. A recent trip to the country provided a perspective of the current situation within, particularly how people are dealing with the worsening conditions.
Today, October 3, 2012, thousands of people took to the streets in a spontaneous demonstration around the Bazaar of Tehran. The protests spread around the Bazaar, with people shouting slogans and wrecking a bank. The protest was against the massive price hikes of the recent period, the collapse of the Rial and the fact that the regime has chosen to completely deny the existence of these problems.
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