Skip to main content

Rouhani’s challenge (.hindu )

Iran’s President begins his second term in daunting circumstances at home and abroad

Hassan Rouhani has formally begun his second term as Iran’s President in especially challenging circumstances. Conservatives at home are pushing for a hard-line agenda, Sunni states in the Gulf are consolidating a regional alliance against Shia-majority Iran, and the U.S. is turning up the heat on the country’s missile programme. Mr. Rouhani, who won the election on a moderate platform, had drawn hope during his campaign that he would build on the momentum his first term had generated and initiate social reform. It was never going to be easy, given the resolve of the clerical establishment to push back any major attempt to change the status quo. In Iran’s complex, multipolar political system, the President runs the government with a popular mandate but the security establishment reports directly to the Supreme Leader, who can override the government on critical issues. What Mohammad Khatami tried and failed and what Mr. Rouhani tested during his first term was to gradually push pragmatic policies, overcoming the conservative opposition. Mr. Rouhani’s decision to go ahead with the nuclear deal despite concerns from the establishment was an example of his successful brinkmanship. The expectation was that in his second term, Mr. Rouhani would expand the reform agenda into domestic politics. The reformists have many demands.

However, one of the first decisions Mr. Rouhani has taken in the new term raises questions about his resolve to initiate meaningful reforms. On Tuesday, he nominated an all-men cabinet, which needs to be approved by Parliament. The chances of women nominees getting through the parliamentary process were high this time given that reformists and moderates make up a majority in the Majlis. Still, Mr. Rouhani preferred not to take the risk of antagonising conservatives. To be sure, these are hard times for a moderate President in Iran. The nuclear deal, the signature achievement of Mr. Rouhani’s first term, is under attack, with U.S. President Donald Trump threatening to cancel its certification. With the U.S. imposing more sanctions on Iran over the missile programme and joining hands with its regional rivals such as Saudi Arabia, conservative sections find their hard-line views vindicated and would like Tehran to reciprocate in the same tenor. Mr. Rouhani may therefore have preferred to avoid a clash within the system over his cabinet nominations. It is not clear to what extent he may sacrifice the reformist agenda under pressure from hardliners. His supporters will hope that he will come around to simultaneously pursuing a pragmatic reformist agenda at home and a realistic foreign policy that doesn’t succumb to external provocations. Only then would Hassan Rouhani live up to the expectations of the millions of Iranians who re-elected him.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Khar’s experimentation with Himalayan nettle brings recognition (downtoearth)

Nature never fails to surprise us. In many parts of the world, natural resources are the only source of livelihood opportunities available to people. They can be in the form of wild shrubs like Daphne papyracea and Daphne bholua (paper plant) that are used to make paper or Gossypium spp (cotton) that forms the backbone of the textile industry.

Nothing can compete with the dynamism of biological resources. Recently, Girardinia diversifolia (Himalayan nettle), a fibre-yielding plant, has become an important livelihood option for people living in the remote mountainous villages of the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

There is a community in Khar, a hamlet in Darchula district in far-western Nepal, which produces fabrics from Himalayan nettle. The fabric and the things made from it are sold in local as well as national and international markets as high-end products.

A Himalayan nettle value chain development initiative implemented by the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiati…

SC asks Centre to strike a balance on Rohingya issue (.hindu)

Supreme Court orally indicates that the government should not deport Rohingya “now” as the Centre prevails over it to not record any such views in its formal order, citing “international ramifications”.

The Supreme Court on Friday came close to ordering the government not to deport the Rohingya.

It finally settled on merely observing that a balance should be struck between humanitarian concern for the community and the country's national security and economic interests.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions, one filed by persons within the Rohingya community, against a proposed move to deport over 40,000 Rohingya refugees. A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, began by orally indicating that the government should not deport Rohingya “now”, but the government prevailed on the court to not pass any formal order, citing “international ramifications”. With this, the status quo continues even though the court gave the community liberty to approach it in …

New passport application rules add options for single parents, sadhus(Livemint)

Sadhus/sanyasis (Hindu ascetics) can apply for a passport with the name of their spiritual guru in lieu of their biological parents.
 New Delhi: Acknowledging a changing social milieu and its reflection in paperwork, the ministry of external affairs on Friday unveiled a series of changes in the passport application process.

The online passport application form now requires the applicant to provide the name of only one parent as opposed to both in order to enable those with single parents to apply for passports.

This comes on the heel of reports over the past two years of passport offices insisting on the father’s name in the form even if the mother is a single parent.

“A three-member committee comprising of officials of the ministry of external affairs and the ministry of women and child development was constituted to examine various issues pertaining to passport applications. These pertain to single parents, parents with adopted children and instances where they did not want the in…