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    Middle East
     Jun 11, '14

Rouhani making progress, one year on
By Shaul Bakhash

After the eight disastrous years of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's administration, President Hassan Rouhani's signal achievement is simply to put government back into the hands of adults, of men and women of experience and common sense.

Ahmadinejad managed to squander over US$600 billion in oil revenues, to provide grounds for increasingly damaging sanctions

against Iran, to exacerbate relations with almost all Persian Gulf countries and much of the international community, and to facilitate the penetration of the Revolutionary Guards into all major sectors of the Iranian economy achievement.

Rouhani must deal with this crippling legacy. His government represents a return to sensible policies both at home and abroad. Already the effects are discernible. Serious negotiations over Iran's nuclear program are under way.

The Persian Gulf states are re-engaging with Iran as evidenced by the Emir of Kuwait's recent trip to Iran and the invitation extended to foreign minister Javad Zarif to visit Saudi Arabia. The United States and the European Union feel, at the very least, that they have an interlocutor in Tehran with whom they can have a serious dialogue.

At home, unlike the Ahmadinejad administration, the Rouhani team understands that sanctions are doing serious damage to Iran's economy. Iran's banking system is threatened by non-performing loans and other weaknesses.

The current level of government spending and budget deficits simply cannot be sustained. The role of the state and the Revolutionary Guards in the economy needs to be curbed. And restrictions on basic freedoms need to be eased. More ...

Shaul Bakhash is the Clarence Robinson Professor of History at George Mason University.

Originally published by IranPrimer.org. Republished with permission.




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