Stimson in the News

Geneive Abdo is quoted in the LA Times on the results of the Iranian presidential election

in Program

With
the election of congenial pragmatist Hassan Rowhani as the next president, Iran
has caught the world off-guard.

-snip-

“He’s
not talking about fundamental reform, he’s talking about increasing social
freedoms, a more diversified press, and he’s addressing the economy, which is
why he was able to energize the electorate,” said Geneive Abdo, a fellow at the
Stimson Center’s Middle East program.

She
worries that expectations of change once Rowhani is inaugurated in August are
excessive, given the resistance that can be expected from within the religious
hierarchy, which controls foreign policy and holds fast to Islamic virtues.

“But
you have to look at what didn’t happen,” Abdo said. “The authorities could have
easily fixed the results and handed the presidency to [nuclear negotiator] Saeed Jalili or the mayor of Tehran [Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf], who both
talked very hard on the nuclear issue.”

That
the hard-liners around Khamenei didn’t try to steal the election suggests they
are aware of the lingering resentment over the harsh crackdown on protests in
2009 ignited by the election manipulations, Abdo said. “Believe it or not, they
seem to be taking public opinion into account.”

To
read the full story, click here.

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