Reformists Reiterate Support for Rouhani

Reformists Reiterate Support for RouhaniReformists Reiterate Support for Rouhani

A senior reformist reiterated his camp's continued support for President Hassan Rouhani in the next presidential election, dismissing the "propaganda" by rival conservatives that Rouhani does not stand a chance if he seeks a second term.

"Reformists will back Rouhani in next year's presidential vote. This is indeed a totally conscious decision based on the assessment of his pragmatic qualities," Hojjatoleslam Mohsen Rohami said in an interview with IRNA on Monday.

Rohami, who is a member of the Reformist Policymaking Council, said the camp has been unanimous in backing Rouhani in all its meetings. "They have never considered fielding another presidential candidate."

The reformist backing proved vital in Rouhani's victory in the 2013 polls, wherein prominent reformist politician and former vice president Mohammad Reza Aref withdrew his candidacy to help consolidate support for Rouhani, who ultimately won.

  Second Step

Rohami said the resounding victory of the reformist-moderate coalition in the February parliamentary race was the "second step" on the reformists' winning streak, which they aim to extend by helping Rouhani get reelected.

He noted that the government should not be blamed for the problems plaguing some key areas of domestic policy and foreign relations which are outside its purview.

"It should be seen what proportion of the problems can be linked to the government's performance and what actually lies beyond its jurisdiction."

Rouhani's political opponents hardly miss an opportunity to attack the president and his men for all the things that are going wrong in key areas, namely the grave economic ills and the less than stellar performance of the removal of international sanctions.

Tehran has expressed frustration that last year's nuclear deal with major powers is not delivering the benefits enshrined in and implied by the historic agreement.

The accord went into force early this year to provide for sanctions relief in return for curbing Tehran's nuclear program.

The residual US restrictions bar foreign business and banks from using the American dollar and deny them access to the US financial system to process Iran-linked transactions, deterring them from Iran's market.

The sanctions have complicated the government's untiring efforts to reintegrate the country with world markets,  and by extension, revive its sanctions-hit economy.

  Problems of the Past

"Rising foreign pressures, including through sanctions, ruptures in foreign relations, political and economic isolation, exit of many foreign firms from the country and limitations on access to funds from oil exports are only part of the problems inherited from the previous administration," Rohami noted.

Experts and senior officials often blame the previous government for handing over an ailing economy with large deficits to its successor.

Rouhani, whose first term ends next summer, has been struggling to fulfill his election pledge of economic reform and regeneration and restoring normal ties to the western world.