Reuters reports: In the week before the May 19 presidential election in Iran, the eventual victor, Hassan Rouhani, criticised the judiciary and the powerful Revolutionary Guards with rhetoric rarely heard in public in the Islamic republic.
Now, in the eyes of his supporters, it is time to deliver. Millions of Rouhani’s followers expect him to keep pushing on human rights issues.
“The majority of Iranians have made it clear that they want improvement on human rights,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), a New York-based advocacy group. “Expectations are running high.”
That message came through loud and clear shortly before Rouhani, who won re-election with more than 57 percent of the vote, took the stage at a gathering of supporters in Tehran last week.
“Ya Hussein, Mirhossein” went the thunderous chant, a reference to Mirhossein Mousavi, a presidential candidate in the 2009 election, who, along with fellow candidate Mehdi Karroubi disputed the results, spurring widespread protests.
Dozens of protestors were killed and hundreds arrested in the crackdown that followed, according to human rights groups.
Mousavi, his wife Zahra, and Karroubi, were placed under house arrest in 2011 after calling for protests in Iran in solidarity with pro-democracy uprisings across the Middle East.
The trio’s continued detention is a divisive political issue in Iran and one that Rouhani has promised to resolve.
But if he keeps pushing, he will face a backlash from his hardline opponents which could undermine his second term, analysts say. [Continue reading…]