Baku, Azerbaijan, May 19
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva – Trend:
The presidential election which is being held in Iran on May 19 causes great interest not only in the West, but also in the region, as a lot depends on the election results.
Now, it is possible to predict that Iranian incumbent President Hassan Rouhani will probably win the election. However, it is unknown whether it will happen in the first or in the second round. Along with that, some presidential candidates at the last moment left the presidential race and supported other presidential candidates.
Before the election Iranian First Vice-President Es’haq Jahangiriwithdrew his candidacy in favor of President Rouhani, while Mayor of Tehran Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, who also left the presidential race, supported conservative Ebrahim Raisi.
According to the latest polls, a considerable number of Iranians (around 20 percent) supported Ghalibaf. While assuming that almost all of them will support conservative Raisi, it will not be so easy for Rouhani to win in the first round of the election as it has been expected.
However, Rouhani will likely to retain his post and it is quite fair. It was Rouhani’s team that led the country out of the deep economic and political crisis, in which Iran was during eight-year-rule of Iranian ex-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
It was Rouhani who led the country out of most Western sanctions and restored relations with Western countries.
In fact, it would be wrong to call a nuclear deal with Iran as success of the Obama administration. It was rather the success of moderate President Rouhani, who did everything for the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to approve a nuclear deal that gave Iran huge advantages.
Indeed, during Rouhani’s presidency, Iran turned from an outcast into a country of great interest to many Western and world powers and with which it is possible to do business. As a result, European governments rushed to conclude deals on the practically untouched Iranian market.
Undoubtedly, this brought great benefits to Iran itself, beginning from the creation of new jobs to the renovation of its air fleet.
At the regional level President Rouhani also played the role of a far-sighted politician, who is open to new formats of cooperation which are beneficial for the country.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met with his Russian and Iranian counterparts Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani in Baku in August 2016.
Following the meeting, it became clear that the new trilateral regional format not only is a logistics, transport and economic project but also a geostrategic one, having every chance to become the most important factor in the regional policy.
Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran mainly focus on a pragmatic approach based on their own economic interests. As practice shows, the factor of the countries' interest in the profitable projects strengthens such political formats best of all.
By the way, after the recent improvement of the Ankara-Moscow relations, another influential regional player – Turkey may also join this format. Rouhani also preferred to establish serious partnership relations with Turkey during his presidential term.
Taking into account the long-term prospects for such cooperation, it is possible to say that Rouhani's victory in the election is favorable for Baku as he is familiar to the Azerbaijani leadership. It was he who became the Iranian leader who initiated new joint projects with Azerbaijan.
In the long term, keeping Rouhani in office can help solve a long-standing problem, namely, the determination of the legal status of the Caspian Sea, contribute to a joint fight against terrorism, radical Islam and the prevention of regional and global threats.
Elmira Tariverdiyeva is the head of Trend Agency's Russian News Service