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What Are Rouhani’s Critics Afraid of?

Attacks on Hassan Rouhani since his election seem inspired less by outrage at his record than by fear that the United States and Iran will achieve some accommodation in nuclear talks.
Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani speaks to the media following a visit to the Khomeini mausoleum in Tehran June 16, 2013. Reuters/Fars News/Seyed Hassan Mousavi   (IRAN - Tags: POLITICS) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - RTX10Q4G

In the aftermath of Hassan Rouhani’s surprise victory in the Iranian presidential elections, there has been a cascade of pessimistic commentary suggesting that the replacement of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by the former senior nuclear negotiator will not stop Iran’s alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Iran, these accounts assert, is barely a year away from breakout and a Rouhani administration will not change that trajectory — just lull the West into thinking that a negotiated deal is possible while Iran continues to install centrifuges and pile up ever greater quantities of enriched uranium.

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