Iran History 2015

By | December 16, 2021

Considered by political analysts and major world powers an essential element in the normalization of the Middle Eastern situation, Iran of the first decades of the 21st century. continued to carve out a space as a protagonist in the region by financing movements and friendly countries: the Lebanese Shiite party Ḥezbollāh, the Palestinian Sunnis of Ḥamās and above all the Syrian dictator Baššar al-Asad whose regime was threatened since the end of 2011 by a bloody civil war. The Iranian hegemonic design has always appeared on a collision course with the absolutistic-dynastic vision of Saudi Arabia, champion of Sunni orthodoxy, with which Iran Shiite fought a dramatic challenge for regional supremacy. The aggressive attitude of the Iran, on the strength of its advanced nuclear program and its repeated threats to the State of Israel, it attracted the attention of the United States whose political influence in the Middle East appeared to be compromised by the long Iraqi crisis and the failure of the choices made up to that point in the ongoing conflicts . In this context, Iran he was looming as a potential interlocutor of Washington despite the fact that a completely different scenario had prefigured the success of Maḥmūd Aḥmadīnejād in the presidential elections in 2005. His long presidency (2005-13), characterized by a return to obscurantism and intolerance, had experienced a moment of profound crisis on the occasion of the presidential elections in June 2009 which intercepted the strong discontent widespread in civil society and among young people, the most advanced point of the opposition to the regime with a strong and significant female presence. Oppressed by the daily pervasiveness of the prohibitions imposed by religious morality (for example, the separation in public between men and women which one would like to prevent, in the absence of close kinship, even the slightest physical contact), the young people took to the streets to support the candidates reformists.

The announcement of Aḥmadīnejād’s electoral victory, with over 62% of the votes, was immediately contested by the opposition, which organized massive street demonstrations in protest. In a few days, after the confirmation of the validity of the vote by the Supreme Guide, the country fell into chaos and, while hundreds of thousands of citizens poured into the squares asking for political transparency and greater freedom (the movement took the name of Green Wave from color of the banners waved in the streets), images of the revolt and brutal repression by the police forces went around the world. The consensus crisis surrounding Aḥmadīnejād, which silenced the opposition, did not affect the controlling power of the Shiite clergy: a theocratic structure, that of the āyatollāh, tetragonal to any political variation, and which kept unchanged its widespread penetration into society and ample room for maneuver in the economic sphere.

Qaboos bin Said and Hassan Rouhani

On the international front, between 2011 and early 2013, the US administration reiterated the line of sanctions to punish Iran for its nuclear program, hitting the Iranian banking and financial sector in addition to the oil and petrochemical market. After the election of the moderate religious Hassan Rouhani to the presidency (June 2013), Iran he seemed to rediscover a cautious optimism in the hope of seeing a season of obscurant extremism shelved on the inside and unrealistic and unfortunate economic choices on the outside. The new president, in fact, first of all undertook to rehabilitate the reputation of the Iran in the international forum to try to limit the damage caused by the open confrontation with the West, while at the same time working to increase harmony with some Gulf countries (῾Omān, Qaṭar, United Arab Emirates). The nuclear question thus returned to the center of attention of the international community and Iran he seemed to renounce to leverage his atomic program as an instrument of terror by starting secret negotiations with the United States itself hosted in November 2013 in ῾Omān. In that same month, the agreement signed in Geneva between Iran and the group of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany was hailed by US President Obama as the success of the new diplomatic course for which the Iran, in exchange for an easing of sanctions, undertook to put a stop to its nuclear program. The final phase of the negotiations, after the interlocutory meeting in July 2014, took place in a climate of growing skepticism: in the month of November, in fact, no significant progress was made on the central question of uranium enrichment, to which Iran he was not willing to give up completely as the United States requested, and the postponement of a further six months played into the game of those regional actors committed to delegitimizing the Iran, first of all the Saudis and the Israelis. In April 2015, greeted by great enthusiasm in Iran and by the uncontested condemnation of Israel, he arrived in extremis the preliminary agreement that provided for the lifting of all sanctions against Iran in exchange for a significant decrease in the number of centrifuges already installed and the constant monitoring of Iranian nuclear sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). On July 14, 2015, with the final signing of the agreements, the resumption of dialogue between Iran and the United States, strongly desired by President Obama, appeared to be a fait accompli, thus closing a long period of strong tensions between the two countries. New geopolitical horizons were opening up in the Middle East: relieved by the heavy economic humiliation of sanctions, Iran could relaunch its policy of regional expansion, revealing a hope of liberal reforms and openings for the civil society that had been calling for them for some time, and, on the outside,

The question on the inclusion / exclusion of the Iran in the crucial question of regional security, however, it remained open and found an edge in all outbreaks of crisis: from Syria to Pakistan, from Afghānistān to Irāq where, between March and April 2015, Iranian military advisers and fighters contributed to the liberation of Tikrit by the militias of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.

Hassan Rouhani