After months of speculation, the decision is finally in. On Saturday, June 14, 2013, Hassan Rouhani was announced as the next president of Iran. Many Western powers are relieved that Rouhani was victorious, however BBC’s article “Iran election: Israel issues warning after Rouhani win” gives reason as to why the world still needs to maintain caution of Iran.
Although Rouhani ran on a moderate platform, Israel still voices concerns about the result of this election. Rouhani’s main goals are to “try to ease international sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear programme, and he has also promised greater engagement with Western powers.” Many of the Western powers have seen this as a positive move forward for Iran. Israel on the other hand believes that these statements from Rouhani are simply wishful thinking.
Israel’s Justice Minister Tzipi Livni believes “…if what truly happened is that the Iranian people want more moderation and if there is also pressure to have better relations with the West, then the test will move to the West.” This cautious perspective from an upper level Israeli government official implies that Israel is less than optimistic about Iran’s conflicting views on its growing nuclear program and possible use of nuclear weapons.
While Israel has concerns about Iran’s motives in the Middle East, it is possible that the Iranian government may attempt to work with Rouhani’s platform to minimize international actions and in turn provide economic opportunities for the country. These sanctions, as report by BBC, have lead to economic hardship in Iran, “which is suffering from rising unemployment, a devalued currency and soaring inflation.”
After Rouhani was announced as the victor of the election, tens of thousands of Iranians fled the streets in support of Rouhani. Hopefully with this many people backing his efforts, Rouhani will follow through with his election pledges. As already shown by the EU and the US White House Chief of staff, the international community has reason to believe that Iran will be successful in this transition. Having this international support could help Rouhani be successful in creating a shift to a new system for Iran.
Prepared by Elizabeth Haggart, Dickinson College