IranInsight|Showcasing a Multifaceted Iran

No stranger to tragedy, Iranians renew their passion and compassion in the wake of calamities, such as the fire and collapse of the iconic Plasco Building in central Tehran on the morning of January 19.

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The nuclear deal between Iran and world powers that went into full implementation a year ago had raised hopes that Iran might be able to realize a long-held desire to join the World Trade Organization (WTO).

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Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani attends Iran's Assembly of Experts' biannual meeting in Tehran March 8, 2011. Rafsanjani lost his position on Tuesday as head of an important state clerical body after hardliners criticised him for being too close to the reformist opposition. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi (IRAN - Tags: POLITICS)
Iran's former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, died on January 8. (Reuters/Raheb Homavandi)

Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the pragmatic centrist former president of Iran, who died Jan. 8 after a heart attack, was one of the pillars of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic.

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Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Dec. 19 unveiled a long-awaited bill of rights for Iranians, a “Charter of Citizenship Rights.”

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The December 5 issue of the weekly Sobhe Sadeq, the political organ of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was filled with commentaries on the recent passage of the Iran Sanctions Extension Act (ISA) by the U.S. Congress that have important implications for Iran’s domestic politics as well as nuclear policies. 

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The Dec. 11 announcement that Boeing Corp. has finalized a $16.6 billion agreement to sell Iran 80 civilian aircraft is welcome news for a number of reasons.

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The victory of Donald Trump brought both relief and fear in Iran. While some are jubilant that Hillary Clinton lost and believe that Trump will conduct his presidency with a business mindset, most are fearful for the fate of the nuclear deal and the new era of international relations that Iran has been enjoying since 2013.

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It is difficult to predict President-Elect Donald Trump’s foreign policy in general, and thus even more difficult his policy toward Iran, given the contradictory positions he took during the campaign. However, drawing on key signs, there are both lights and shadows in his likely policies toward Iran.

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Historically, Iran and the United States have often chosen the wrong path when they faced a fork in their relations. After last week’s U.S. election, here we go again! Another chance that could be mishandled or missed.  

For now, Iran is in the driver’s seat and can choose to keep its destiny in its own hands or give into forces antagonistic to Iranian interests in a Trumpean environment. Now that the U.S. election is over and we have a new unknown as the president-elect, Iran can decide whether to reach out to Donald Trump, perhaps through private channels, or take a wait and see attitude and hope for the best. 

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Donald Trump will be a busy man January 20 as he nominates new cabinet secretaries and seeks to reshape a post-Barack Obama agenda in domestic and international affairs.

Among the issues he will confront is whether to continue U.S. compliance with Obama’s chief foreign policy legacy: the landmark nuclear agreement reached with Iran last year.

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