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Rouhani ignores domestic political reforms

The nuclear negotiations have taken up a great deal of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's time, but domestic political reforms are what is needed for long-term change.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani  arrives to attend the closing statement for the Asian-African Conference in Jakarta April 23, 2015. 
REUTERS/Darren Whiteside - RTX19YAE

By reaching a framework agreement with the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany (P5+1), President Hassan Rouhani's administration has come closer to resolving Iran's nuclear saga than any of his predecessors, regardless of the final outcome. However, the nuclear negotiations have caused another big part of Rouhani’s agenda to be neglected — a long list of domestic, social and political demands made by the Iranian people and the Reformist camp. To keep his critics at bay and his support base intact, Rouhani needs to shift his focus toward rebalancing the government. Given the intricate domestic political considerations and the country’s vast bureaucratic machinery, the task at hand is a challenging one.   

Backed by different interests and ideologies, which result in varying domestic political calculations, each incoming faction adopts a domestic policy agenda best suited for its constituents. Such factors are often underweighted or absent in mainstream analyses of a president's performance. The elected government needs to keep the domestic political factions and the constituents content to operate with relative ease. If an administration neglects this delicate balancing act, it is bound to face a tremendous amount of opposition from competing groups.

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