On 18 June 2021, the Islamic Republic of Iran will hold presidential elections.
The reform-oriented forces are likely to have a difficult time. After Hassan Rouhani, a president who himself started as a reformer, has been in office since 2013, the conservative and radical foreign policy faction now sees itself in the stronger position. There are several reasons for this.
First of all, the failures under Rouhani’s government are important. These are particularly significant in the economic field. After the signing of the nuclear agreement, many citizens hoped that the easing of sanctions would provide an economic boost. However, even before Donald Trump’s term in office, these could never be fulfilled, and even fell into negative numbers during his time in office. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated this trend. In addition, the annual inflation rate is currently over 30%.
In addition to the economic-, there are the foreign policy problems. Even though the overly confrontational attitude of the USA has eased somewhat under Biden, the mistrust towards them runs very deep. It is questionable whether the country would again rely on concluding a treaty with the USA if the next president could reverse it anyway. What remains of Rouhani is the image of a leader who has naively entered into an agreement with the United States. This should give the hardliners in Iranian politics an advantage.
In addition to all these problems, the poor management of the Corona pandemic also stands out. Iran was probably the most affected country in the world at the beginning of the pandemic, with high death tolls and an overstretched administration, and even today the situation looks comparatively bad. This is also attributed to the governance under President Rouhani.