Election of New Iranian President Hassan Rouhani: P5+1 Cautiously Optimistic

August 9, 2013

Publication Type: 

  • Policy Briefs

On June 14, 2013, Hassan Rouhani won Iran’s presidential election; he was sworn in on August 4.  Rouhani has been described as a relative moderate among the candidates competing for the presidency.  His victory was greeted with caution by the United States and its partners.  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the United States is "ready to engage directly with the Iranian government."  French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius echoed this sentiment.  British Prime Minister David Cameron called on Iran "to engage constructively and seriously with the international community on its nuclear program." 

Following his election, Rouhani said that there is a new chance, “in the international arena,” for “those who truly respect democracy and cooperation and free negotiation.” However, in the first press conference as president, Rouhani said that international sanctions would "never bring a halt to Iran's nuclear and missile activities."  Regardless of Rouhani's intention, it is widely assumed that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the decision-maker when it comes to national security, including Iran’s controversial nuclear program.

Read reactions and analysis from around the world:

Secretary of State John Kerry remains ready to engage directly with the Iranian government concerning Iran’s nuclear program, 06-15-13.

White House Press Secretary pledges that Iran will find a willing partner in the United States, 08-04-13.

The U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office calls on President Rouhani to address international concerns about its nuclear programme, 06-15-13.

Prime Minister David Cameron sends a letter to President Rouhani calling for Iran to engage constructively on its nuclear programme, 08-05-13.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle expects the new president to ensure without further delay a substantive, diplomatic solution to the nuclear conflict, 06-16-13.

Reaction to Rouhani’s inaugural speech, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle takes careful note of Rouhani’s willingness to enter into international cooperation, 08-04-13.

French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius says France is ready to work with the new Iranian President particularly regarding Iran’s nuclear programme, 06-15-13.

France Remains determined to find a diplomatic solution concerning Iran’s nuclear issue, 06-18-13.