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Donald Trump, the 'divine gift' to Iranian hard-liners

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who had advocated diplomacy with the West, has lost public support after the United States' assassination of Gen. Qasem Soleimani, giving hard-liners an opening they can easily exploit.
A man holds a picture of late Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, as people celebrate in the street after Iran launched missiles at U.S.-led forces in Iraq, in Tehran, Iran January 8, 2020. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY - RC2JBE917CLC

Soon after taking office, US President Donald Trump adopted policies that led to the strengthening of Iranian hard-liners. With the Jan. 3 assassination of Gen. Qasem Soleimani, he laid the ground for the near-total marginalization of the Reform movement and President Hassan Rouhani.

In domestic politics, Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) Quds Force, actually held moderate positions. Now, to take advantage of his killing, Iranian hard-liners are painting him as an ultraconservative aligned with their own interests. Their strategy could end up tarnishing the image of Soleimani, who was regarded as a national hero among diverse segments of Iranian society.

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