Iran 2017: From Rouhani’s Reelection To The December Protests
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The 2017 was a challenging year for the President Hassan Rouhani despite his reelection. The Presidential and Municipal elections in May represented a clear and strong support for his administration and the nuclear deal or famously the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement. But lack of visible improvements at economic levels ended the year with widespread protests in several Iranian cities with 25 deaths and thousands detained. Despite new contracts in infrastructure and transportation sectors signed, anticipated reforms in banking system, the creation of jobs and attracting greater foreign investments are still pending issues at the economic level. At the international level, the new approach coming from the Trump administration has challenged the Iranian commitment with the JCPOA and created frictions within the establishment regarding the US policies. However, there has been no change in the Iranian stance in the nuclear deal. Moreover, the GCC crisis that erupted in May seemed to have benefited Iran leverage itself at the regional level. While its participation in the regional arena has been neglected by mainly the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia, the year 2017 has proved to be the year in which Iranian position on regional issues such as Syrian conflict, Kurdistan and intra-GCC relations was counted.