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Second-term Rouhani likely to move closer to Russia

Increasing multilateral and bilateral cooperation suggests that Iran and Russia may be on the path of eventually achieving a strategic partnership.
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a joint news conference following their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin - RTX332WO
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TEHRAN, Iran — After weeks of heated campaigning and controversial televised debates, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani managed to secure a second term in the May 19 presidential elections. Now, with electoral passions considerably eased, the question of possible change in both Iran's domestic and foreign policy is being seriously raised, leading many observers to debate Rouhani’s priorities and approaches in his second term.

When it comes to foreign policy, most of the discussions have been focused on the prospect of Iran’s relations with the West, and particularly the future of the nuclear deal under the new regional and international circumstances. However, another very important but highly overlooked issue is that of the future of Iran-Russia relations, which have in past years become a determinative factor in shaping developments in the Middle East — especially in Syria.

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