|“||At dusk yesterday we received a decisive revolutionary order to crush mercilessly and monumentally any move of these opportunist elements wherever it may occur. From today our people shall witness how in the arena our law enforcement force . . . shall deal with these opportunists and riotous elements, if they simply dare to show their faces.||„|
|~ Rouhani in 1999, following the student protests|
Hassan Rouhani (born 12 November 1948), born Hassan Fereydoun, is an Iranian politician, lawyer, academic and diplomat serving as the seventh and current president of Iran under Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, taking office in 2013 and succeeding Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Hassan Fereydoun was born to a highly religious Persian family in Sorkheh, Iran during the Pahlavi dynasty. His father was a vocal opponent of the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Fereydoun changed his last name to Rouhani some point in his life, meaning "cleric", though when he changed it was a mystery.
During the 1970s, Rouhani was an avid supporter of Ruhollah Khomeini during the Iranian Revolution, having been arrested over twenty times before the revolution succeeded. Rouhani quickly rose through the ranks and became a member of the Supreme Defence Council during the Iran-Iraq War. In May 1986, Rouhani was one of the three people who talked to McFarlane about buying weapons. Eventually, this weapons sale became known as the Iran-Contra Affair.
For 16 years, from 1989 up until 2005, Rouhani served as the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, with his main role being the nuclear negotiator with the West, and took charge on Iran's nuclear case in 2003, beginning the negotiations between Iran and the "EU Three" (Germany, Italy and France). Iran succeeded in completing its nuclear fuel cycle. Rouhani later resigned once Ahmadinejad took office as president.
In 2013, Rouhani ran as a moderate, with his main goal involving withdrawing nuclear weapons from Iran in a deal with the United States, though many suspect an ulterior motive behind the deal. By loosening tensions with the US, as well as supporting ideas such as women's rights, Iran seemed to be on its way to become a prosperous nation for three years.
However, following the election of Donald Trump, heavy sanctions were imposed on Iran, Rouhani retracted back into his old hardline views, partly so he can cling onto power. Heavy protests erupted in Iran, mainly due to the rise in the oil prices. This led to the Iranian government to causes a complete internet blackout for a week, with access only to the National Propaganda Network. Alongside Khamenei, Rouhani promised retribution against the US following the assassination of Qasem Soleimani.
Rouhani is an extremely controversial figure in world politics. Despite often seen as a "pragmatist" and a "moderate", he is also well-known for his loyalty towards Khamenei. In 2000, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy described him as "power-hungry" and many see his seemingly undying devotion towards the Supreme Leader and the clerical establishment as simply a coverup for him to rise through the ranks. As secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Rouhani infamously led the crackdown against peaceful student protestors in 1999, from which at least three were killed and more than seventy students "disappeared", in addition to an estimated 1200-1400 detained.
As president, Rouhani, as a result of US sanctions on Iran, ordered the increase of fuel prices throughout the country. This led to another set of demonstrations from which as many as 1500 protestors were killed by riot police and members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, prompting violence throughout the country. Following the protests, Rouhani, alongside SNSC Secretary-General Ali Shamkhani, ordered the Ministry of ICT to enact a total shutdown the internet throughout Iran for a week, with only access to the national propaganda sites available to the populace.
Rouhani's opinions on Israel are an enigma. In an interview with CNN, it was claimed by the CNN translator that Rouhani had acknowledged the existence of the Holocaust, however, CNN's statements were accused by Iranian state media as a fabrication created by a deliberate mistranslation by the news agency. In November 2018, Rouhani called Israel a "cancerous tumour established by Western countries to advance their interests in the Middle East." In addition, Rouhani is rumoured to participate in anti-Semitic rallies across the country.
In 2019, Rouhani spoke against government corruption. However, various opponents have pointed out the hypocrisy of the speech, as several politicians affiliated with Rouhani, including his brother Hossein Fereydoun, were accused for embezzlement. In addition, there were rumours that Rouhani had attempted to illegally build a mansion on public grounds. i