Iran's Rouhani Vows To Deliver In His Final 100 Days, Despite Broken Promises
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has said he is planning to have the US sanctions lifted in the last 100 days of his presidency, and implement a COVID vaccination plan. "We should not wait for the summer as we previously promised and should start nationwide vaccination in the spring," he said.
At the beginning of the second round of his presidency in 2017, Rouhani promised to solve Iran's economic problems within 100 days. Later, when he was criticized for the failure of the economy, he told his critics that he only meant he would come up for a solution within 100 days.
Conservative critics in the parliament (Majles), as well as other hardliners charge that Rouhani never had a plan. He approached problems one by one and case by case and was not able to solve any of them.
To be fair to Rouhani, one can always blame US sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic for the continuation of Iran’s economic crisis, but his critics, including the hardliner daily Kayhan, expected him to have at least a plan to tackle the pandemic and US sanctions.
As far as the sanctions are concerned, the problem is largely about Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's uncompromising stance barring talks with the United States. But as far as the pandemic is concerned, Rouhani's critics have repeatedly criticized him that vaccinations have started even in remote areas of the Amazon, but Iran has still not been able to vaccinate half of one percent of its population.
But here also Khamenei has been an obstacle by banning US and UK vaccines. Although critics in Iran do not dare to criticize Khamenei, those outside Iran have said they expected the president to stand against Khamenei or try to explain to him that this is a matter of life and death and he should set aside his anti-Western rhetoric.
Vaccination and putting the 2015 nuclear deal back on track to lift US sanctions are the most urgent items on Rouhani's agenda. Even though they do not seem to be feasible during the next 100 days, still Rouhani is using them as a fig leaf to conceal his other embarrassing broken promises.
These include putting an end to the house arrest of the three Green Movement leaders, Mir Hussein Moussavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Zarha Rahnavard, appointing at least one woman as cabinet minister, lifting the ban on social media, returning the Iranian passport to the glory of its pre-1979 status and worldwide respect, tackling unemployment, restoring the value of Iran's highly weakened national currency and last but not the least, putting an end to Iran's isolation in the international community.
These were promises based on which over 20 million Iranians voted for Ruhani in 2013 and 2017. Let down by Rouhani in many of these areas, during the past months and particularly during the past weeks protesters, including poverty-stricken pensioners and investors lured by Rouhani to invest in bankrupt privatized companies have been chanting "Death To Rouhani" in the streets of Iran.
The public disappointment with Rouhani have ruined the future of Iran's reformists who backed him in elections, as outspoken pundit and Tehran University professor Sadegh Zinbakalam said on a Clubhouse audio discussion on Friday. Other critics believe Rouhani has also lost his personal dream of replacing Khamenei.
Regardless of all these, reformist daily Ebtekar in Tehran quoted Rouhani as saying: "Some say I have 110 or 100 more days in office. If I have just one hour left in office, I can break the sanctions in my final 100 days the same way I had them lifted during my first 100 days in office. Give me an open hand and I will do that!" But he was not able to say that his hands are tied by Khamenei.