Iran President-elect Hassan Rohani is trying hard to keep the faith of the 18 million voters who put him in power, but desperately needs a lifeline from outside.
Despite the rhetoric of the outgoing government over Iran’s nuclear program, Iran is an oil-rich nation teetering on the verge of bankruptcy thanks to international sanctions imposed to bolster diplomatic negotiations.
Put simply, the world wants Iran to stop producing weapons grade uranium.
The last government seized on their prize irritant like a dog on a bone and refused to let go of the dream that they believed would give them power to command the region.
Only the plan has not quite worked.
Strangled by sanctions
In a war of attrition, Iran‘s people have suffered financial constraints that finally became intolerable.
Rohani was seen as a moderate cleric who would lead the country away from confrontation and back into the international fold.
Failure to agree a nuclear policy with the West has led to years of sanctions that have strangled the life out of Iran’s economy.
In a country that admits inflation is raging at 33%, but where the real figure is probably much higher, industry ravaged by shortage of raw materials and buyers has shut up shop.
Huge numbers are unemployed and finding ever-increasing prices are making them poorer every day.
Rohani wants Iran back inside the circle. Where the currency is no longer worthless, prices are affordable and the nation becomes a place where traders and tourists want to go.
“Iran’s nuclear program is transparent, and we want to make the picture even more transparent,” he said. “Where there is distrust, we want to improve relationships with other countries. Our talks over the nuclear program will become more active.”
The rest of the world greeted Rohani’s election with optimism – but stresses his actions rather than his words will be the real proof of how Iran wants the world to see her.
The power behind Rohani’s throne remains Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He is a hard liner who pulls a lot of the strings in government.
The US, Britain, Germany and France will play a waiting game. They can afford to, because Iran is heading for economic oblivion despite their own financial problems.
The Ayatollah’s support for Syria’s President Assad is another sticking point for the West. A threat to despatch 4,000 Republican Guard troops to prop up his regime remains on the table and another thorn in the side of the US and Europe.