Tag Archives: Rouhani

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.

Advertisements

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