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Rouhani is skillfully navigating Iran's choppy political seasIn his first year as Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani has proved himself a capable operator, carrying forward an agenda of renewed diplomacy and tighter economic management. Iran's failure to secure concessions led to growing domestic criticism and removed the prospect that Rouhani would run for president in 2005 as a pragmatic conservative.This time round, the principlists will step up criticism of Rouhani should the talks flounder. Rouhani's meeting earlier this month with Russian President Vladimir Putin points to likely closer economic cooperation between Tehran and Moscow, probably involving Iran exporting oil in a barter arrangement, avoiding the dollar.Whatever happens with the nuclear talks, Rouhani will argue that his diplomacy – whether improving relations with Russia and China or in calling for a regional approach to ISIS – has improved Iran's standing and will remain vital for defending the country's interests.Reciprocal visits by Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have put relations with Turkey on a better footing than for many years.Finally, Rouhani has worked to build a wide consensus among political groups, including reformists, supporters of the pragmatic former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and indeed many conservatives alienated by the abrasive politics of Ahmadinejad.
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