Hope and Change, Iranian Style

By John Nixon

John Nixon was a senior leadership analyst with the CIA from 1998 to 2011. He did several tours in Iraq and was recognized by a number of federal agencies for his contribution to the war effort. During his time with the CIA, Nixon regularly wrote for, and briefed, the most senior levels of the US government.  He also taught leadership analysis to the new generation of analysts coming into the CIA at the Sherman Kent School, the Agency's in-house analytic training center. Since leaving the Agency in 2011, Nixon has worked as an international risk consultant in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

On the surface, the Iranian election was an impressive display of hope trumping cynicism. Over 70 percent of the population turned out with more than half saying yes to President Hasan Rouhani’s moderate policies and giving a strong rebuke to hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, the preferred candidate of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatlollah Ali Khamenei. President Rouhani’s reelection win is an impressive victory for the 68-year-old cleric, but it may not be the mandate that will usher in accelerated foreign and domestic policy changes that many in Iran are hoping for.

One thing the election does not indicate, and probably can’t achieve, is that drastic political change is coming to Iran. If anything, Rouhani’s 57 percent poll victory probably can best be viewed as an endorsement of his incrementalist, centrist approach to effecting change within the red lines drawn by Khamenei and hardliners in the clergy and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

“The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

Access all of The Cipher Brief’s national security-focused expert insight by becoming a Cipher Brief Subscriber+ Member.


Categorized as:InternationalTagged with:

Related Articles

How Safe Would We Be Without Section 702?

SUBSCRIBER+EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW — A provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that has generated controversy around fears of the potential for abuse has proven to be crucial […] More