Tehran: After Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s re-election, talk in Iran has turned to the future of an even larger political figure: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Although the topic is taboo in Iran, the question of who will succeed Ayatollah Khamenei, who is 77 and ailing, loomed over the May 19 election. Dr Rouhani, a relative moderate, won 57 per cent of the vote in a four-man field, demonstrating strong public support for his policies of economic pragmatism, international engagement and expanding social freedoms.
But in Iran’s theocracy, one vote matters most: the supreme leader’s.
Ayatollah Khamenei and the hard-line “principlist” faction that is close to him have indicated impatience with Dr Rouhani’s economic policies and outreach to the West – especially the 2015 nuclear agreement.