Category Archives: Iran

Posts covering the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Typified by Oppression, Women in Iran Fight for Essential Rights

By Connor J. Wangler
womenrights
Source: TheGuardian.com

As in many countries where Islamic Sharia Law reigns supreme, the rights of women are often starkly different compared to those typified within Western culture. Iran is perhaps one of the most oppressive governments when it comes to women’s and girls’ rights as it is one of the most adherent law systems when it comes to Islamic law.

One area that seems to be a beacon of hope for women in the Islamic Republic, however, is in women’s education. According to Nayereh Tohidi, more than half of the university students in Iran are female, making up at least 70% of those studying engineering and science. Some fundamental conservatives in Iran argue that this will lead to a disparity in education and economic imbalances between men and women. This view hasn’t stopped several universities from encouraging the education of women by creating Women’s Studies programs that go up to the Masters Degree level.

Here is an interesting piece by FreeMiddleEast regarding what they call Iran’s “Gender Apartheid.”

Despite this prospect of advancement in education, women still suffer greatly in their inequality with men when it comes it several areas. One of these areas is female participation in sports. The “Bad Hijab” law, outlawing the exposure of any part of the body other than hands and face, has made it very difficult for Iranian women to participate in the full range of sports. This often leads Iran’s international representation in sporting events, such as the Olympics, to be dominated by men.

Arton11
Source: Change for Equality

Even the fight for women’s rights is vilified by conservatives within the country as anti-Islamic and, therefore, morally reprehensible. The “One Million Signatures” campaign is an effort to end discrimination of women in Iranian laws by collecting one million petition signatures. One such law the campaign focuses on is one that gives greater value to male legal testimony over the testimonies of females. The female leaders of this campaign, unfortunately, have been attacked and, often, arrested. Several leaders of the campaign were arrested for allegedly contributing to banned websites.

Advertisements

34 Years Later, ‘Down with USA’ Still Heard

By Connor J. Wangler
360_tehran_embassy_0714
Source: TIME.com

November 4, 2013 marks the 34th anniversary of the beginning of 1979-1981 Iranian Hostage Crisis where Iranian Islamic students stormed the US Embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans hostage. Commonly referred to by Iranians as the ‘den of espionage,’ the embassy was claimed to be the home for a covert CIA unit responsible for spying on Iranians. For the past 34 years, in what has now become a hardliner ritual, Iranians have gathered outside the former embassy to protest the United States and to celebrate what was seen as a victory of the West. 2013, once again, saw the demonstrations of anti-US sentiment.

In a lead up to these annual demonstrations, anti-US billboards were plastered across the Iranian capital city.

The difference between this year’s protests and those of years prior is the reaction by the Iranian government. Traditionally Iranian leaders have hailed the anniversary as a victory for Islam; however, this year, newly elected President Rouhani has rebuked protestors for harsh tones against the US in light of the ongoing negotiations. Tehran authorities have even ordered recently raised anti-US billboards to be taken down claiming the organization who hung them did not have permission. This has shocked hardliners who traditionally enjoy the full support of the government. According to the Tehran Times, many of them, who already disagree with the actions taken by Rouhani in the nuclear negotiations with the West, claim that Rouhani is out of touch with the Iranian people.

Screen shot 2013-11-04 at 5.27.37 PM
Source: iran.usembassy.gov

Despite the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and the break in relations with the country, the US Department of State still maintains ventures to reach out to the Iranian people and their government. It maintains several Iranian-targeted social media presences, such as Twitter and Facebook Farsi language accounts. In 2011, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the US’s Virtual Embassy for Iran in an attempt to improve its reach to Iranian society. It serves as an information portal for Iranians seeking information on visas, US policy, and educational opportunities in the US.

Empowering Young Women: NGOs Still Matter in Iran

By Connor J. Wangler
Source: http://www.omid-e-mehr.org
Source: http://www.omid-e-mehr.org

Many in the West may find it difficult to think of humanitarian groups finding Iran a suitable home. This thinking, however, reflects the “human distance” between our two cultures. One of the many non-government organizations operating in the Islamic Republic is the Omid-e-Mehr Foundation. The foundation, established in 2004, focuses on empowering young women in Iran who suffer from “abuse, neglect, and disadvantage.” Many of the women and girls who come to the Tehran-based center suffer from mental trauma caused by sexual abuse and exposure to drugs. The Omid center in Tehran began with one location supporting fifteen girls but now operates two locations support 200 young girls and women.

One of the young women the center helps to support is Ladan. When she was just nine years old, her mother and brothers began forcing Ladan into sexual relations with other men in order to support their drug addictions. This often included her own brothers forcibly raping Ladan. After being married off at the age of 15, authorities became aware of the situation. One would expect this to be a ray of hope and justice for Ladan; however, Ladan was charged with committing incest and sentenced to death. Fortunately, Omid-e-Mehr was there for Ladan and persuaded the judge to turn her over to the center’s care. Ladan now works for center-associated projects and has even completed her eighth grade education certificate.

cat_166-1866
Source: http://www.omid-e-mehr.org

The foundation, in order to increase fundraising efforts, has created two associated foundations in the United States and the United Kingdom. Omid Foundation USA was founded in 2008 and is responsible for increasing awareness of Iranian Women’s issues in the United States and serving as a fundraising hub for the foundation. Omid Foundation UK was founded in 2006 and operates the foundation’s awareness and fundraising campaign throughout the rest of the world. One of the foundation’s proudest, and most successful, efforts has been the 2008 production The Glass Housea documentary detailing the foundation’s efforts and the problems facing women in Iran. CNN recently detailed the documentary in a piece by Asieh Namdar:

http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/showbiz/2009/02/01/namdar.glass.house.cnn

One way the work of the Omid-e-Mehr Foundation, and other NGOs, has made an impact is in depictions of violence in Iranian television and film. In August 2011 the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) issued an order “forbidding all domestic networks from screening brutal violence scenes.” According to the Tehran Times, many social analysts have warned the government of the increase of domestic violence in the country.

To learn more about how to get involved with the Omid-e-Mehr Foundation, visit the “How To Get Involved” section of their website.

Nuclear Negotiations Depend on Human Rights in Iran

By Connor J. Wangler
IMAGE634700066436630734-300x200
Source: The Iran Project

This past week the P5+1 group of nations met with Iranian officials in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss the issue of Iran’s nuclear aspirations. The P5+1 group consists of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (US, UK, France, China, Russia) plus Germany. These nations represent many of the leading world powers and the most powerful body in the United Nations, the Security Council. According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Germany is included in these talks due to its role as a valuable trading partner with Iran. The talks are a result of the renewed mission to solve Iran’s foreign relations problems taken on by President Rouhani, who recently spoke of addressing global concerns with his country in front of the United Nations General Assembly. This has been meet with positivity, although cautious positivity, by many world leaders.

According to the Tehran Times, one of the main hopes of the Iranians for these negotiations is the eventual lifting on economic sanctions placed on Iran. If lifted, Iranians will be able to live with more comfortable economic conditions; this includes greater access to limited medicine and humanitarian goods. This, Iranians hope, will invigorate the country’s general economic growth which has been stymied since sanctions were put in place. These hopes have been elevated with the news that the US delegation to the talks will include Adam Szubin, the director of the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control and the US government’s foremost expert on Iranian sanctions.

rabbani20130913055849193
Source: PressTV

As fruitful as the negotiations have been in redefining the tone of the conversation between the West and Iran, many western leaders remain cautious of giving the new Iranian regime too much positive feedback. According to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, the “onus remains on Iran to come into compliance with its international obligations.” Leaders have noted the still-foggy image of the true purposes of Iran’s nuclear program and the Islamic Republic’s numerous human rights violations as reasons for not “jumping for joy” over this new approach by Iranian officials.

Source: ICHRI
Source: ICHRI

One such violation of human rights that has been prevalent in international groups’ protests of the negotiations is the use of capital punishment in Iran. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reports that 402 individuals have been executed in Iran in 2013, 53 of them in public. A recent report by CNN quotes the official newspaper Jaam-e Jam in Iran in detailing the recent attempted execution of a man at the Bojnurd Prison. According to the story the man was hung until “dead” and brought to the local morgue for the body to be collected by family; there a morgue worker noticed the man was still breathing. Unfortunately, Iranian law demands that the sentence be carried out and that the man will still be executed. An official for Amnesty International heard the report and said, “The horrific prospect of this man facing a second hanging, after having gone through the whole ordeal already once, merely underlines the cruelty and inhumanity of the death penalty.” Many groups want to see Iran address these violations of human rights before the West eases sanctions.

Team Melli: Football in Iran

By Connor J. Wangler
Source: FFIRI
Source: FFIRI

Football (or soccer here in the States) has had a long history in Iranian society. According to FIFA, the International Federation of Association Football, the Iranian national football federation was formed in 1920. It is arguably the most popular sport in Iran, only being rivaled by wrestling and volleyball. The common name for the national team is Team Melli, which means “The National Team” or “The People’s Team”. It is currently ranked 47th in the world by FIFA and 2nd in the Asian Football Confederation. On June 18, 2013, Iran defeated South Korea and officially qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup to be hosted in Brazil. According to the Tehran Times, another source of excitement for the upcoming world cup games is the decision of Steven Beitashour to play for the Iranian National Team instead of the United States. Beitashour, who plays for the San Jose Earthquakes, is the son of Iranian parents and, therefore, qualifies to play for the national team.

Even the Islamic Republic’s sports realm is tied to the country’s political tensions. In 2009, the country was rocked by mass protests in response to the contentious presidential elections. Each side, pro-President Ahmadinejad and pro-opposition candidates, turned out in the millions to voice their views on the results of the election. Many claimed the election a fraud after it was announced that then-President Ahmadinejad had won sixty percent of the vote despite many voting irregularities. Several members of the national football team joined in the protest by wearing green armbands during a 2010 World Cup qualifying match against South Korea. The green armbands were symbolic of the “Green Revolution” as the protests would be referred to as. According to The Telegraph, many of these members were permanently banned from Iranian football; this was later disputed by the Iranian government after an official FIFA investigation was launched into the matter.

Source: Reuters
Source: Reuters

Football in Iran has also been a place of celebration for women’s rights, as well as a source of problems for women’s rights. The Iranian Women’s National Team was founded in 2005 after years of calls for allowing women to participate in this widely popular sport. Many women in the Islamic country see football as a way to show their skill and be themselves, which many see as difficult in a country where much of what women do is dictated by Islamic law. This has not been, however, free from issues; official FIFA safety regulations have made wearing the hijab, a required head scarf for women in Iran, quite problematic as it is cited as a possible choking hazard. According to CBS News, the requirement of the hijab by Iranian law has cost the women’s national team several crucial games which had to be forfeited for not complying with FIFA rules. Luckily, however, FIFA is working with designers to create headscarves that fit with its safety regulations and will allow Islamic women to wear the hijab while playing.

A 2011 documentary film called “Veil of Dreams” follows three girls whose dream is to play for the Iranian National Team and discusses the issues presented by the hijab requirement. Here is a short clip from the film:

فرهنگ : The Increasingly Globalized Pop Culture of the Islamic Republic

By Connor J. Wangler
Source: www.cultureofiran.com
Source: http://www.cultureofiran.com

As much as the clerics would like to protest, the culture of Iran has been globalizing at an increasingly fast rate over the past few years. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979 the theocrats tried to put a cap on western influence on Iranian culture by banning many forms of “Western” culture. One example of this was the government’s ban of pop music as it was a symbol of the Shah’s regime and, therefore, considered un-Islamic and un-Iranian. This ban sent a flood of Iranian musicians and singers to the West where they could continue to produce their art. However, despite the government’s efforts, this new LA-style Iranian pop music continued to thrive in Iranian society, including a strong “underground” of illegal audio cassettes. In the mid-1990s, however, there was a resurgence of domestically produced pop, even surpassing the LA-style pop in popularity. Unfortunately, this success was brief; given that domestically produced pop was still censored by the government, it began lose its originality. Due to this, the LA-style pop has regained its status as the preferred form of pop in Iran with domestic musicians attempting to imitate its form. According to the Iran Chamber Society, fortunately for Iranian musicians, the LA-style has received inspiration from its Iranian-based counterpart and has changed alongside it to reflect this interaction.

One example of this exchange of style can be seen in Iranian singer Sirvan Khosravi. Often seen as one of the pre-eminent musicians in Iran, Khosravi has produced several original pieces and has also covered songs of Western bands, such as The Beatles and The Police. After the release of his original song “Hour 9,” he became the first artist from Iran who sees high-rotation airplay on regular radio stations throughout Europe. According to the Tehran Times, Khosravi worked on a remix of Enrique Iglesias’ “Stay Here Tonight” that became widely popular throughout Iran and Europe.

Source: Memento Films
Source: Memento Films
 The Iranian film industry has also seen heavy influence from the effects of globalization. Iran will be returning to the Academy Awards for “The Past” in the Best Foreign Language Film category. This represents an interesting dynamic in Iranian cinema. The international award-winning films, such as “The Past,” known by the West are very different from domestically oriented films. Films created for the domestic Iranian audience focus on two categories: films about the Islamic Revolution and soon-after Iran-Iraq war or are commercialized crowd-pleasers in the comedy and melodrama genres. Both of these styles of film in Iran are popular to Iranians and both see the influence of Western films, which are still seen throughout Iran through illegally pirated DVDs. According to Al Jazeera, however, Iran is seeing a “brain-drain” within its film industry. Given the government’s heavy-handed censorship of cultural products, many filmmakers do not stay in Iran out of artistic frustration. This transfer of culture brings Iranian style to the rest of the world and, through filmmaker’s links to Iran, continue to bring the Western style of cinema back to Iran.
Even the way Iranians spend their free time shows strong influence from the rest of the world. Due to the efforts of the Shah’s regime to “westernize” Iran in the 1960s, many traditionally European aspects exist in Iranian society. Tea time has been especially popular among Iranians, where both rich and poor can enjoy a nice cup of tea. Iranians even prefer to hold a cube of sugar between their teeth while sipping on their tea. Iranians enjoy many natural beauties that are available for families and individuals to enjoy and explore. Shopping, while limited due to economic sanctions, is popular in the many Bazaars throughout the country. Iranians also enjoy many historical centers and museums that celebrate Iran’s long and complex history. Mountainous regions in Northern Iran are also especially popular for skiing, attracting many Western tourists (Source: http://www.travelandleisure.com).

Power Shifts: The Definition of U.S.-Iranian Relations

By Connor J. Wangler
Source: TIME.com
Source: TIME.com

The current state of relations between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran is extremely strained; formal diplomatic relations between the two countries have been severed for more than thirty years. The revolutionary hero of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, made it a point after his rise to power to effectively cut out the influence of the United States in his new Islamic Iranian society. After the success of the Islamic revolution, Khomeini and his supporters succeeded in this and ending official relations with the United States.

There is no doubt that the coup d’état against the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddeq, remains one of the biggest blows to the relationship between the United States and the people of Iran. On May 1, 1951, Prime Minister Mosaddeq nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and placed the production of oil in Iran under state control. This upset British and American oil interests, and on August 19, 1953 the U.S. and Great Britain organized the overthrow of the Mosaddeq government and installed Shah Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavī as the absolute leader in Iran. This action was recently detailed by a vote in the Iranian Parliament to sue the United States over its involvement in the coup.

Source: Bertil Videt
Source: Bertil Videt

After the restoration of the Shah as ruler in Iran, several factions of anti-Shah/anti-West sentiment were aroused. These ranged from communist groups to Islamic fundamentalists. Fortunately for the Islamics, the only true leader that emerged from this opposition was Khomeini. After decades of failed social reforms and westernization, the Iranian people rose up against the Shah. On January 16, 1979 the Shah left Iran for exile and on April 1, the country voted to become an Islamic Republic. This day is celebrated as Islamic Republic Day, recognizing the official creation of an Islamic Iran.

Perhaps the most defining event of U.S.-Iranian relations is the hostage crisis of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran that lasted from 1979 until 1981. Iranian students, claiming to be acting in support of the recent Islamic revolution, took fifty-two Americans hostage inside the U.S. Embassy. These actions were condoned by Khomeini and last for 444 days. This event stays prevalent in both countries, especially through its recent depiction in a film-fight between the U.S. “Argo” and the Iranian “The Genera Staff”.

Source: TheGuardian.com
Source: TheGuardian.com

Today’s status of U.S.-Iranian relations stands at an interesting crossroads. For most of the past decade it has been defined by extremely constrained encounters over Iran’s nuclear program. This has included a vehemently anti-U.S. Iranian presidency in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and increased sanctions placed on Iran by the Bush and Obama administrations. No U.S. and Iranian Presidents have met since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. This may change, however, with the inauguration of President Rouhani in Iran, who has begun a “charm offensive” beginning with an Op-ed in The Washington Post. There has also been increased speculation that President Obama will offer an olive branch of peace to Rouhani and meet with the Iranian president at the upcoming UN General Assembly meeting. According to a White House statement, Obama wrote Rouhani saying “that the U.S. is ready to resolve the nuclear issue in a way that allows Iran to demonstrate that its nuclear program is for exclusively peaceful purposes.” One must question to legitimacy of both parties’ intentions, but one must also be hopeful that perhaps progress can be made.

Iran Tackles Pollution in the Caspian Sea

By Connor J. Wangler
caspian-sea
Source: http://www.anthropower.com

The Caspian Sea is the world’s largest enclosed body of water, often referred to as the world’s largest lake. It is bordered by Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Iran. It is also the focus of one of the latest international entanglements that the Islamic Republic finds itself caught up in.

“Over the last two decades, the Caspian has become increasingly exposed to the risk of pollution…” a statement from the UN Information Center says according to Payvand News. Speaking to Payvand News, Reza Pourgholam, the head of the Caspian Sea Ecological Research Institute, claimed that the pollution levels in the Caspian Sea had reached a critical level. According to Pourgholam, ninety-five percent of the pollution comes from Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan.

This is why Abdol-Reza Karbasi, Deputy Head of Iran’s Environmental Protection in Marine Environment, said that Tehran would be lodging a complaint in international courts against Azerbaijan. Discussing the matter with the Tehran Times, Karbasi said that a large source of the pollution is the Azeri oil platforms operated by British Petroleum (BP). Iran claims that BP has been dumping oil waste into the Sea for many years and that in the last four months of 2012, twenty-five tons of it were removed from Iranian coasts.

reportint20121213033310463
Source: http://www.PressTV.com

The Islamic Republic, however, is not entirely absolved of blame in this problem. According to a piece done by Payvand News,  Iran is responsible for at least five percent of pollution into the Caspian Sea. Most of this comes from agricultural waste, such as fertilizers and pesticides, running off from coastal agriculture projects.

Here is a piece done by the BBC regarding Iranian contributions to the Caspian pollution problem:

Iranian sewage adds to Caspian Sea pollution

GeoLabPic_937_2
Source: National Geoscience Database of IRAN

The people tasked with trying to fix this problem, Iran’s Department of Environment, are aware of its severity. Unfortunately, their efforts are fairly recent and their operating budgets are extremely small. One project that the government feels has been quite successful is aimed towards children. The Department of Environment created a series of children’s DVDs aimed at teaching the effects of pollution. Said Fadgepor, an Iranian environmental official speaking to NPR, says the best way to teach adults is to start with their kids.

Another project developed that will help with this issue of water pollution is the Joint Iran-United Nations Environment Programme/Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNEP/OCHA) Environment Unit. This unit is working towards creating a Iranian Environmental Emergencies Centre. The Centre would respond to all kinds of environmental disasters, from natural disasters to manmade emergencies. In this specific instance, it would respond to increasingly dangerous amounts of pollution in the Caspian Sea by directing greater resources from national and international entities to the region.

Challenging U.S. Hegemony: Tehran Stands Defiant

By Connor J. Wangler

Ever since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Iran has acted as a thorn in the foot of the Western world. It would seem like the main goal of Iranian leaders is to stand in defiance of everything the United States and its allies want to do, especially when it comes to the Middle East. Many claim that the United States has hit a peak in its global power. Is its relationship with the Islamic Republic representative of this? The Iranians, and several others, would like to think so. Source: Zakaria, The Post-American World, pg. 31

IranUNRep
Mohammad Khazaee, Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations, and Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General. Source: http://iran-un.org

Iran is a member of several international organizations that allows its anti-U.S. stance to be presented on the world stage. It was a founding member of the United Nations in 1945, a founding member of OPEC in 1961, and it joined the Non-Aligned Movement in 1979. It often uses its membership in these organizations to disrupt the plans of the U.S. and Israel, the U.S.’s main ally in the region. 

One such example of this is the situation in Syria. Speaking to Iranian FARS News Agency, Expediency Council Chairman and former President Akbar Rafsanjani said, “Support for Syria and Lebanon should continue since these countries are in the forefront of resistance against Israel.” He then went on to blame the United States for the recent chemical attacks inside Syria. Iran has urged its allies in the UN Security Council, Russia and China, to veto any resolution calling for action against Syria.

Iranoil(1)
Source: http://www.ngoilgasmena.com

Another interesting aspect of Tehran’s defiance towards Washington is the Iranian economy. Despite many years of crippling sanctions place on Iran due to its nuclear program, Iran’s leaders haven’t budged on their energy policies, much to the U.S.’s annoyance. In fact, the Iranian Ambassador to Germany was recently quoted by the Tehran Times as saying, “sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear energy program have failed to achieve their objectives and have rather led Iran to self-sufficiency in oil and gas sectors.” Despite its rhetoric, Iranian oil production and exports have been severely damaged by the sanctions, while U.S. oil production has increased (Source: Bloomberg News).

iran-460
Source: http://www.theguardian.com

From a Western perspective, Iran’s identity is one of extreme anti-Americanism and Islamic extremism. As discussed by Manfred Steger, many Westerners associate extremist Islam to be leading a fight against “Westernized” lifestyles. For Iran, this is incredibly accurate; part of the cause of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in the 1970s was western influences in Iranian, and specifically Islamic Iranian, life. Source: Steger, Globalization, pg. 126-130

However, in order to offer a more accurate depiction of Iran’s identity, one must delve into its regional power status. As one of the strongest and most populous countries in the middle east, Iran has immense geopolitical power. There is little in the region that goes on without somehow being affected by Iranian interests.

Below is an interesting piece by RussiaToday regarding Iran’s latest push against the U.S., saying that if Damascus comes under attack, it could lead to an all-out war in the region:

All-Out War? Iran vows ‘immediate destruction’ of Israel if Syria attacked

Islamic Republic of Iran

By Connor J. Wangler

Image

The Islamic Republic of Iran was founded on April 1, 1979 after the Islamic Revolution ousted the government of the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Iran stands on the frontier of the Middle East serving as an agglomeration of Middle Eastern and Central Asian cultures. It has one of the largest populations in the Middle East at approximately 80 million people.

The Islamic Republic is led by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei. The President, who leads the country’s domestic and foreign policy, is ultimately responsible to the Supreme Leader and the Assembly of Experts, who elects the Supreme Leader. The current President of Iran is Hassan Rouhani.

(Source: CIA World Factbook)

Image

Assuming office on August 3, 2013, President Rouhani is being forced to deal with the many effects of the many international sanctions placed on Iran because of its nuclear program. According to Iranian FARS News Agency, the West and its allies accuse the country of trying to build nuclear weapons instead of developing a civilian nuclear energy program. Iran is currently subject to four rounds of sanctions by the UN Security Council for turning down the West’s call to give up its program.

According to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, “These sanctions put people under pressure, but they will not force a change in foreign policy.” However, recognizing the economic strain placed on the Iranian people, the new administration has pledged to do its best to have the embargoes lifted without altering its nuclear policy.

Image
Official portrait of President Rouhani

Speaking to the Tehran Times, President Rouhani discussed his appointment of Reza Najafi as the new envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He will lead nuclear program negotiations with the U.N. and other international organizations. These talks are aimed at creating a structured approach document to resolve issues with Iran’s nuclear program, particularly the Parchin military site, which the West suspects of being used to build nuclear weapons. Little progress on this document has been made, however.

Image
Grand Bazaar in Tehran, Iran

According to Euronews, however, everyday Iranians care little about the country’s nuclear program. They are, instead, concerned about President Rouhani improving the economy, which has been severely damaged by the effects of the international sanctions.

Below is a piece by Al Jazeera that details the issues that were most pressing during the recent Iranian presidential elections, most notably the sanctions’ effect on the Iranian economy.

Inside Story: Choosing Iran’s Next President