On August 12, 2013 the South Asia Center’s Senior Fellow Barbara Slavin conducted a briefing call on Iran following President Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration.

Having just returned from Iran, her ninth visit since 1996, Slavin described this visit as uniquely “encouraging.” She noted a relaxed environment ranging from emerging fashion to unfiltered access to previously guarded activists. From her conversations on the ground, Slavin sensed a palpable willingness to give President Rouhani a chance to improve conditions.  Indeed Rouhani is positioned to break with his predecessor’s record, as Slavin mentioned, given his deep understanding of the west and true closeness with the Supreme Leader. His nominees for his cabinet mostly consist of moderates and technocrats, uniting former leaders from Mousavi’s to Rafsanjani’s administration. Slavin purported that upcoming cabinet confirmations have prevented Rouhani from addressing direct talks with the US, but has promised more transparency and economic relief. Call participants, including Atlantic Council Individual Members and Iran Task Force members, entertained questions about Rouhani’s impact on the US-Iran relationship, and Iran’s regional position moving forward.

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