The lifting of crippling international sanctions linked to Iran’s nuclear program and the flurry of diplomacy that led to the release of Americans held by Tehran suggests a new era could be dawning. But anyone hoping for rapid change is likely to be disappointed.
President Hassan Rouhani and his team have plenty to celebrate now that nuclear sanctions have been removed. The moderate leader promised to boost Iran’s struggling economy and improve its relations with the wider world during his 2013 campaign. The nuclear deal achieves both aims.
He hailed the deal Sunday as a way to open “new windows for engagement with the world,” and said fresh investments and newly freed overseas assets could kick-start the transformation of a country struggling with high unemployment and inflation. At the top of the shopping list are more than 100 planes from Europe’s Airbus.
It will take time for the economic benefits to trickle down to ordinary Iranians, but the goodwill from the deal could translate into electoral gains for moderate and reformist candidates in parliamentary elections late next month. Voters will also select members of the 88-seat Experts Assembly, an influential clerical body that picks a successor for the 76-year-old supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in the event of his death.
Read More: Analysis: Iran deals may not herald rapid changes