QUETTA: Once again the Iranian people opted for a durable peace and stability in the region by voting to power President Hassan Rouhani for another constitutional term. He defeated his rival Mr. Ibrahim Raisi, the Custodian of Hazrat Imam Raza Shrine in Mashhad, with a very big margin of votes. President Hassan Rouhani secured around 57 percent while his rival got around 38 percent. Two other candidates polled less than one percent votes.
The liberal and reformists in Iran voted for President Rouhani while the minority nationalities in Iran also supported Rouhani with the hope to introduce political and constitutional reforms ending the domination of clerics and the security establishment over the State machinery.
The Western countries in general had pinned high hopes in the leadership of President Hassan Rouhani for retaining the nuclear accord with Iran and world powers. Iranians rejected the policies of President Trump who sought to cancel the nuclear treaty with Iran while the entire western world, backed by the People’s Republic of China and Russia, supported all efforts to retain the strategic nuclear treaty between the world powers and Iran and rolling back the nuclear programme under the pressure from the ‘conservative elements’ ruling the country.
Now all the forces opposed to Iran nuclear Deal between Iran and world powers stood isolated, including the US President Trump singled out on this issue. Iranians also supported the policies of President Rouhani on this issue. It is a good omen for the entire region that there will be no nuclear activities in Western Asia making it a nuclear free region with the efforts of international community. Or the entire West Asia will remain denuclearized.
It is a big setback for the conservatives to defend the present policies of Iran policy towards Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen leaving aside the issues and controversies between Iran and its Gulf neighbours. It is predicted that people will raise their voice against the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen seeking a change in Iran’s policy in West Asia.
The Iranian voters found hope in the leadership of Hassan Rouhani seeking an end to all economic sanctions and resuming trade with world countries besides attracting foreign and direct investment from the Western countries, including Japan and South Korea, to Iran and its sprawling economy.
South Korea, Japan, India and some other countries are investing more than 52 billion US dollars in Chah Bahar Port and its industrial and economic zones building two huge steel mills with a total capacity of 35 million tons. Chah Bahar can be the game changer where the capitalists considering it safe to make investment on the Mekran Coast, far away from the power base located in Central Iran.
Iran is seeking big direct investment from the world over to boost its energy sector increasing production of oil and gas in a big way. Iranian economists are expecting around 100 billion US dollar investment in next 20 years. It is also buying 500 passenger aircraft in next 20 years. It is possible only when Iran retains its good and friendly relations with rest of the world ending the politics of rhetoric in international relations. Capital inflow and investment is linked with peace and security and if Tehran is a big guarantor for peace and security in the region, it will attract the bulk investment. In case of militancy, the rulers are reminders of the cases of neighbourly Iraq and Syria where wars and conflicts sent both countries 200 years back.
The fresh Iran elections will leave a deep impact on Iran’s relations with its neighbours help narrow down their differences on many issues which ultimately may translated into better trade and good neighbourily relations ending the present tense atmosphere.
The Friday vote is considered a sign of big change in Iran encouraging the people to demand more freedoms. The defeat of a prominent cleric in the elections is an expression of seeking more democratic and political rights, including for the minority nationalities in the provinces. Voters had generally had seen the candidature of Raisi as a symbol of Iranian establishment dominated by the judiciary and the security officials. He was a member of the judiciary which executed thousands of political opponents in 1980s.
Since the right of expression is restricted considerably, fewer people are coming out with their opinion on political and constitutional reforms seeking more rights and share in governing the country. The Supreme Spiritual Leader is the supreme authority and no Iranian want to challenge his right as the supreme ruler, but people expect more civil liberties as enjoyed by the people of other countries.
Overwhelming majority of the Iranian people is deeply interested in economic development and increase in trade between Iran and rest of the world. They were found least interested in the on-going war in Syria, Iraq and Yemen or retaining unfriendly relations with all the neighbours to a great extent. The vote of Rouhani has been considered a vote to end isolation of Iran and bring it into the mainstream of economic activities.
Iranians had fought the crippling economic sanctions for decades and suffered the most as a result of the state policies towards rest of the world and now they are expecting some relief to develop their economy and enjoy more freedoms and civil liberties. There was significant development in Iran following the nuclear deal and there was a marked improvement in attracting direct foreign investment and boost Iranian exports. Iran recaptured its oil market in a big way following nuclear deal.
Inside Iran, there is a visible rural push in a big way forcing the population to move towards urban centres where they found better economic opportunities and better prospects of life. The Urban pull factor is also effective as most of the services and facilities are located in the mega cities and human settlements where there are better chances and greater job opportunities.
In any case, the security establish and the judiciary which is wielding complete power in the Iranian State will never accept its defeat in the elections and there are more chances that the hardliners may retaliate more strongly than expected by some observers.
The Arab NATO against Iran is a permanent and immediate threat which will make the security establishment and fanatic judiciary to fight it back vigorously resisting the increasing influence of US-Saudia alliance in the region.