05/22/2017, 14.29
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Rouhani: Economy, Riyadh and Washington, the internal and global challenges of the confirmed president

Thousands of people celebrated the victory of the moderate candidate, confirmed for a second term. The reformed program for economic success and the fight against corruption. Voting of Municipalities rewards reformist and moderate candidates.

Tehran (AsiaNews) - A comprehensive fight against corruption, a strengthening of the economy with the aim of reducing unemployment, to revive the theme of reforms in the field of civil and individual rights. These are the challenges awaiting the new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, triumphant in the elections on May 19, which assured him a second mandate.

The moderate candidate's victory, supported by the reformist faction, at the expense of ultra-conservative leader Ebrahim Raisi was welcomed with celebrations, especially in large urban centers and among the younger population.

With 57% of the votes, the 68-year-old Rouhani defeated Raisi who stopped at 38%. For the challenger, who claimed "irregularities" in voting operations, it was a very heavy defeat in spite of the support of the establishment and of the religious, deployed massively in his favor. Now, too, the chances of a great Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the country, come to pass.

The election result is confirmation that the majority of Iranians endorse Rouhani's more open policies, culminating in the historic agreement on the atomic program, which has resulted in a partial lightening of the economic sanctions of the West. In the capital, thousands of people have poured onto the colorful streets of green and purple - a symbol of reformers and moderates - expressing their joy and singing slogans and songs including "Thank you Iran", "Viva le reforme" and "Long life to Rouhani ".

The president thus faces a double challenge both internally and externally: in Iran, the wrestling match with conservatives and religious leadership, hostile to reform policy. The risk is that Rouhani repeat the second, failed mandate of Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005) who was unable to continue in the timid opening of the first four years. Analysts and experts explain that the reform program is conditioned by the successes in the economic sector and the consequent improvement in people's daily lives. The same ayatollah Khamenei congratulated for the victory of the "people of Iran" reminded that "priority is the fight against corruption, the bands of the depressed population and rural areas."

On the international level, the opposition with Saudi Arabia continues in the aftermath of this weekend’s consolidation of the alliance with the United States in an anti-Iranian spirit. Washington - with the Donald Trump-led administration – not only distrusts but is verging on being openly hostile to Tehran - signed an agreement providing for the supply of arms worth 400 billion dollars. For their part, European governments, Russia and Asian nations have greeted Rouhani's victory by re-launching the path of dialogue and collaboration that led to nuclear deal and reopened the Iranian markets. Investments that are affected, however, by the blockade of dollar use in banking transactions, slowing down growth and employment growth as well.

The Iranian leader's diplomatic abilities will be measured by these domestic and international tugs of war.

Lastly, the success of moderates and reformists is evidenced by the result of the municipal elections in Iran, open to women, where the candidates were able to win all 21 seats available in Tehran. For the first time since 1999 reformers will have full control of the capital city, the first year in which they voted. Victories have also been recorded in many other major cities including Isfahan, Kerman, Mashhad, Semnan, Shiraz, Tabriz and Zahedan. Reformists will also be able to remove the present Mayor (ultraconservative) Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, among the presidential candidates before retiring from the race and announcing his support to Raisi.

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