Supporters of newly re-elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hold a placard bearing a portrait of him as they take to the streets to celebrate his victory in downtown Tehran on May 20, 2017.AFP / Behrouz MEHRI
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Iranians yearning for detente abroad and greater freedoms at home have handed President Hassan Rouhani a second term, but the hard-line forces he defeated in elections Friday will remain defiantly opposed to his plans. Rouhani built his resounding win in Friday's presidential election by promising more economic opportunities for Iran's youth, as well as social justice, individual freedoms and political tolerance.Rouhani, first elected in a landslide in 2013 on a promise to reduce Iran's diplomatic isolation, spent most of his political capital in his first term on a nuclear agreement with six powers that resulted in a lifting of most sanctions in return for curbs on Tehran's nuclear program.The internal power struggle in the Islamic Republic is not just a philosophical argument between reformists and hard-liners, but a battle to preserve the dominance of a theocratic establishment with vested interests and privileges.Given the importance of the Guard to the religious leadership, few Iranians harbor high hopes that Rouhani will fulfill all his promises.
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