Hassan Rouhani has a hefty electoral mandate for his second term but faces opposition at home and a US president determined to scrap the landmark nuclear agreement
When the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, is sworn in again on Saturday, the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and ministers from Britain, France and Germany will be in Tehran to watch; an indication of how far relations with the west warmed in his first term. Yet as he embarks upon his second, he may feel the chill. Despite defeating his conservative rival by a landslide in May’s elections, opposition is ranged against him at home and abroad. The great domestic uncertainty he faces – supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is 78 and without a clear successor – is for now overshadowed by Donald Trump’s threat to pull out of the landmark nuclear deal signed in 2015.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors its implementation, says Iran is complying with the requirements to curb its nuclear programme and accept inspections in return for sanctions relief. But Mr Trump has vowed to overturn the Obama administration’s stand-out foreign policy achievement. He has twice signed the sanctions waiver, but with extreme reluctance. He has asked aides to find a way to ditch the deal and says he expects Iran to be declared non-compliant next month. Officials say it has breached the pact “in spirit”.