The Iranian presidential election is due to take place shortly. The word “election” must be used quite loosely because it is more of an announcement about who has been chosen to be president.
The political system in Iran is corrupt on many levels. The current government, headed by Hassan Rouhani, wants to give off the image that is it cooperating within the international community. However, this is just a show. Their charade is giving more power to the IRCG and Ali Khamenei the Supreme Leader.
It is believed that there are two political camps in Iran – those referred to as hardliners (the IRGC and Khamenei) and the reformists (President Rouhani and the late former president Rafsanjani). However these two sides work together more than is realised.
Khamenei decides on all foreign policy and national security matters whereas the Iranian regime as a whole diverts attention so that the true intentions are not clear.
If it was not for Khamenei’s approval, Rouhani would not be president. Khamenei was concerned that there was going to be another uprising like the one in 2009. The country was heading towards an economic disaster and the previous president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, isolated Iran on an international scale.
Khamenei is able to disqualify any presidential candidate he likes through the Guardian Council. By letting Rouhani even run for presidency is proof enough that he would in some way be useful.
Sanctions were crippling the economy at the time and Khamenei began to realise that Iran needed to either build international relations in hope of getting relief or else put his nuclear ambitions on the back burner.
So the Iran nuclear deal was a way for the Iranian regime to quieten public unrest in the country, and also a way of boosting the IRGC’s economic status. This is where Rouhani became useful – he could be the face of Iran – the smiling mullah who can convince the world that the regime has changed course.
The Iranian regime however has not made any positive changes since the deal was made. It has continually violated terms of the nuclear deal and continues to crackdown on the Iranian people. There have been more executions per capita in Iran than anywhere else in the world.
Iran is also heavily involved in the Syrian civil war and has plundered billions of dollars which could have been spent improving conditions at home.
However, things are changing rapidly. A new President has taken charge in the United States and he has already made it clear that he is not happy with the nuclear agreement. Trump is expected to make sure that Tehran abides by international laws. It seems that sanctions relief may come to an end for the Iranian regime that relies so heavily on it.