Post-Vote Iran: Giving Engagement a Chance

03 August 2017


ISPI Report: Post-Vote Iran: Giving Engagement a Chance

2017 is a crucial year for Iran. In January, while the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) entered the second year of implementation, in Washington the Trump Administration took office, with the promise to “renegotiate a disastrous deal”. In May, in Tehran, the incumbent president Hassan Rouhani won re-election by a wide margin. 

The events of the first half of the year draw a clear-cut picture of the current situation. Rouhani's pragmatic government is keeping up with its commitments under the JCPOA, while making an effort to open up its country to new economic and political actors. The same is not true of Washington, where the Trump Administration keeps sending contradictory signals. While the State Department has so far renewed the waivers and certified Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA, new sanctions have already been approved in the US Congress and Washington’s comprehensive Iran policy is under review.

This Report intends to trace what lies ahead for Iran after the May 2017 Rouhani’s re-election. The analysis builds upon the assumption that Iran does not act in a vacuum: the US, as well as the EU actions, will inevitably help define the future trajectory of the country. A trajectory which is set domestically also by the generational transition Tehran is going through. The inter-factional struggle affecting Iran since the early years of the Revolution is now revived by what is actually at stake: the very future of the Islamic Republic.

Edited by

Paolo Magri is ISPI Executive Vice-President and Director, and Professor of International Relations at Bocconi University of Milan. He is also Member of the Strategic Committee of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Annalisa Perteghella is Research Fellow for the Middle East and North Africa Program at ISPI, with a focus on Iran. She holds a PhD in Political Science, focused on political and religious authority in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Her main research interests include Iranian foreign and domestic policy, European foreign policy in relation to Iran, and wider Middle East politics, with a focus on conflict and securitization of identities.