August 3rd, 2013
05:30 PM ET

'Rouhani could be a powerful president'

Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with Hamid Dabashi, professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, about Hassan Rouhani, who will be sworn in as Iranian president Sunday. Rouhani wrote an essay for TIME in 2006 that can be read here.

Let me ask you, Professor Dabashi, about the supreme leader and Rouhani’s power within this very complicated Iranian system that, at least from the outside, very few of us understand. Because the president, if you look at Ahmadinejad, if you look at Khatami before him, the president of Iran does have power, but not ultimate power and not enough, apparently to get his way entirely. So what should we make of that? Will Rouhani have the power to make a deal with the West?

Not entirely on himself. The fact of the matter is, Iran is a very complicated regime consisting of security, intelligence, military and clerical establishments and a network. And it is that network that has to be considered at one and the same time.

However, it is not that Rouhani doesn’t have any power.  He is a consummate insider.  He is far more powerful, he would be [a] far more powerful president than Ahmadinejad would have ever dreamt, or even before him anybody else, even Rafsanjani.

Well, why do you say that?

Because his revolutionary credentials are absolutely impeccable. He’s very close to Khamenei. And he doesn't have to prove – if you were to follow the course of the presidential debates over the last two or three months, he was constantly talking in a language that means that he's very close to not only Khamenei, but also to the security and the military establishment.

And also, he talks from that confidence, because we have to keep in mind that regionally, Iran is in a very delicate position. Iran is in trouble in Iraq. Iran is both involved and in trouble in Syria. The region is in turmoil. So one should shift, Fareed, the context of the nuclear negotiation. In the context of the region and the readiness of Iran, and the fact that even somebody like Rouhani was suggested to become the next president. In order to understand the readiness of the situation as we have now for a resolution, rather than laser beaming whether or not there would be a power struggle between him and Khamenei, one has to look at the larger regional issue, which is now ripe, in my judgment, for a direct negotiation and a resolution.

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Topics: GPS Show • Iran

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. dtyedtryertyert

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    August 3, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Reply
  2. dtyedtryertyert

    CHINESE PROGRAMS USING SATELLITES TO CREATE MURDERERS.
    SALE OF VENEZUELAN PEOPLE SELLING FOR MATURE NICOLAS STUDIES OF THE HUMAN RACE.
    AN IRRADIATED 100 000 CHILDREN FROM SATELLITES.
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    August 3, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Reply
  3. dtyedtryertyert

    CHINESE PROGRAMS USING SATELLITES TO CREATE MURDERERS.
    SALE OF VENEZUELAN PEOPLE SELLING FOR MATURE NICOLAS STUDIES OF THE HUMAN RACE.
    AN IRRADIATED 100 000 CHILDREN FROM SATELLITES.
    http:://mudpgi.blog.com
    GFHDGDGJFDJGDJGDDDGDDGDDFGDGFD

    August 3, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Reply
  4. dtyedtryertyert

    CHINESE PROGRAMS USING SATELLITES TO CREATE MURDERERS.
    SALE OF VENEZUELAN PEOPLE SELLING FOR MATURE NICOLAS STUDIES OF THE HUMAN RACE.
    AN IRRADIATED 100 000 CHILDREN FROM SATELLITES.
    http:://mudpgi.blog.com
    HGDJGDJGDGFDJTRDTRDYRDYFYUFYFYTFYYDDGDDGFFGGF

    August 3, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Reply
  5. rie matsumoto

    Hello,watch program.
    人間の基本造り上げるには,教育基本.
    Iran:Rouhani氏,何回も言います.国民の為に,前に進して下さい:)
    .
    Have a nice day all
    rie matsumoto.

    August 4, 2013 at 8:19 am | Reply
  6. j. von hettlingen

    Professor Dabashi made a point, when he said there might be a rapprochement between Iran and the West, perhaps also the US. The next coming months will be crucial, whether there are signs that the Supreme Leader endorses Rouhani's agenda. Whatever the new president wants to achieve, he will have to be patient and take one issue at a time. The clerics are well-advised that Rouhani's tenure could offer Iran a window of opportunity to come in from the cold.

    August 4, 2013 at 11:12 am | Reply
  7. LeoOfArabia

    Re: Mr.Zakaria's unjustified and insulting comment[GPS,4thAug.]:
    "Saudis do nothing" by force, not choice, employed by US protected traitorous milking cow regime that has turned the 20 million of mostly able bodied, highly trained and educated native population into an oppressed unemployed, poverty and disease stricken minority in their own land that has truly become Earth's larges garbage patch for the Muslim-Arab world's unemployable criminals, HCV infected and fake health and teaching degrees holders,etc..

    August 5, 2013 at 11:11 am | Reply
  8. Ehsan

    America is so happy about Rohani thinking he is lie Gorbachev so they can crush Iran once and for all and raise the Iraeli flag at their land..

    DON'T MAKE A MISTAKE,
    1) HE IS A MILITARY MAN
    2) HE BELONGS TO THE SAME PARTY
    3) HE IS ONLY THE 3RD STRONGEST MAN IN IRAN!!!

    August 6, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Reply
  9. Ekram

    "complicated Iranian system that, at least from the outside, very few of us understand" and "the president of Iran does have power, but not ultimate power and not enough, apparently to get his way entirely. So what should we make of that?"

    Fareed, doesn't it sound like American President which has power but can't do much without congress's approval. To me its all the same in two different countries.

    August 9, 2013 at 2:13 am | Reply

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