TEHRAN, Iran — With only eight months left of his current term, President Hassan Rouhani and his potential rivals are gearing up for Iran's May 2017 presidential election. Rouhani, who came to power in 2013 promising to resolve the nuclear issue, has fulfilled this key pledge with a comprehensive agreement with world powers. But is the nuclear deal enough to guarantee his victory in the upcoming elections? The most likely answer is "no," considering the challenges he faces in domestic politics, cultural issues and, most importantly, the economy.
The cultural policies pursued by the Rouhani administration have, from the start, been close to the Reformist line of thought, prompting hope for change among Iran's cultural community. However, dissatisfaction continues to linger partly due to issues such as the numerous cancellations of music concerts. In the past two years, an estimated 50 concerts have been canceled by the police or judiciary, despite having the necessary permits.