Rouhani Victory Harbinger of Stability, Economic Progress

Rouhani Victory Harbinger of Stability, Economic ProgressRouhani Victory Harbinger of Stability, Economic Progress

A Tehran city councilor and member of the pro-reform National Trust Party is optimistic that President Hassan Rouhani's reelection earlier this week will usher in four years of stability, robust diplomacy and economic recovery.

"We will have stability for the next four years," Mohammad Javad Haqshenas said in talk with IRNA on Monday.

"Following up the process initiated for years ago and the mending and expansion of relations with the European Union in the post-JCPOA era will help further improve our situation," Haqshenas said.

JCPOA stands for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official title of the 2015 nuclear pact negotiated between the government of President Rouhani and the six world powers (five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany).

The historic agreement eased economic sanctions in return for temporary curbs on Iran's nuclear work, triggering arrival of  overseas business delegations in big numbers, mainly from Europe, in pursuit of a foothold in the 80 million untapped  market.  

Rouhani beat off a full-blooded challenge from his conservative rivals to secure an emphatic reelection on Friday by garnering 57% of the vote.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini extended greetings to Rouhani the next day and reaffirmed the bloc's readiness to develop mutual cooperation.

"Iranians passionately took part in the political life of their country. I congratulate President Hassan Rouhani for the strong mandate he received," she said in a tweet. "The EU is ready to continue work for full JCPOA implementation, bilateral engagement and regional peace."

Rouhani first came to office in 2013 on a moderate platform to reduce Iran's diplomatic isolation and revitalize the domestic economy battered by years of international sanctions.

A bulk of the restrictions, namely those imposed under nuclear pretexts, was eased after the nuclear agreement came into effect in January 2016.

Rouhani's conservative contenders in the May 19 vote, were particularly focused on criticizing his economic track record and the nuclear deal, which is widely seen as his legacy.

  Opposing Views on Outreach

His political opponents and critics also castigate his policy of opening the economy to foreign trade in the wake of the sanctions relief.

They claim that engaging in open trade with international businesses would leave the Islamic Republic exposed to  hostile policies of western governments. But Rouhani insists that a limited, cautious opening to the West holds the prospect of a potential breakthrough in reviving the economy.

He championed the landmark agreement to end the protracted conflict with the West over the nuclear energy program as a panacea for a litany of problems dogging the national economy.

But his opponents have highlighted grievances that promised dividends from the pact have been slow to arrive.

They have, as a matter of policy, targeted his performance on curbing unemployment and addressing the gulf between the haves and have nots.

Nation-wide city council elections were also held concurrent with the presidential vote on Friday.

Haqshenas was among the candidates on the reformist-moderate ticket that swept all the seats of Tehran City Council, ending the conservative grip over the 21-member elected body. 

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