The election of Hasan Rohani as President of Iran will have impact on the Caucasus region, but not immediately
16 June 2013

Hasan Rohani has won an outright victory in the Presidential elections held in Iran on Friday, securing more than fifty percent in the vote in the first round of the poll which saw an active electorate and a heavy turnout. Rohani will formally take office in August.

Rohani has been described by commentators as the candidate most likely to push for reforms in the Islamic Republic. In his election campaign he has criticised censorship, as well as infringement of personal freedom and called for a new relationship with the United States and the west. political editor said in a comment:

The political system of the Islamic Republic of Iran is far from perfect, but the election has proven that it does allow the Iranian people to have a choice in terms of who they want to see at the helm of their country. Rohani will have to respond to the expectations of his millions of voters who saw in him the best chance for change in the country. He will have to tread carefully both domestically and internationally not to upset too much the religious establishment that remains all-powerful, as well as the military-security complex that has also been growing in importance. Balancing these two with a vibrant civil society will be his main task domestically.

Internationally Rohani has to address Iran's continued isolation, its standoff with the international community on the nuclear issue and what to do with Syria. The Caucasus Region will not be at the top of Rohani's agenda, but it will not be far away either. Iran sees itself as a regional power in the Caucasus, as in the Gulf and Central Asia. Up to now it has been boxed in because of its international isolation. A more pragmatic and flexible leadership in Tehran may have expectations of a larger role in all three sub regions with which the Islamic Republic borders. Iran has a long and complex relationship with all three South Caucasus countries. Some new initiatives are to be expected, but not soon . In the end it will all depend on whether Iran is perceived as a rersponsible player on the international scene. If it is than it has an important contribution to play in  the future of the Caucasus region.