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Iranian Reformists anxious as Rouhani takes turn to the right

Iranian Reformists worry that the Rouhani administration will officially form a coalition with Ali Larijani, the moderate conservative parliament speaker.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (L) hands out documents to Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani after presenting his budget for 2017-2018 on December 4, 2016, in Tehran. / AFP / ATTA KENARE        (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

In Iran, the Reformists are becoming increasingly suspicious about the possibility that the centrist Hassan Rouhani administration will officially form a coalition with moderate conservative parliament Speaker Ali Larijani. This comes as many are saying that Rouhani’s second-term Cabinet has been filled with figures from the president’s inner circle instead of Reformists; at the same time, Reformist First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri’s role appears to have diminished.

Since taking office in 2013, Rouhani has enjoyed close ties with Larijani, who has been speaker since 2008. During this time, Larijani has come to Rouhani’s rescue at several critical junctures, including during the nuclear negotiations, in parliament’s ratification of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and in confidence votes for ministers in Rouhani’s first and second Cabinets. In contrast with the tense relations he had with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Larijani has enjoyed close relations with Rouhani and approved many measures taken by the executive branch. This interaction, of course, has not been one-sided, as Rouhani has responded to Larijani’s support in kind.

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