Before his election as president in 2013, the Iranian parliament removed him from the job. In an effort to win back his post, he announced a plan for national reconciliation that included:
treatments for chronic illnesses affecting not only middle-aged men and women but the elderly
building a rail system to connect the country’s 44 provinces
restoration of air conditioning at state buildings
Open border crossings with several neighbours
The IMF predicted Rouhani would turn the economy around by the end of 2018, a year after a Trump nuclear agreement with Iran removed some international sanctions. Instead, 2018 has turned out to be the worst in at least two decades.
How Rouhani got his life back
Rouhani lost more than 70 kilograms (150 pounds) during his battle with severe sarcoidosis, a condition that causes disease-like inflammation in joints and causes breathing difficulties. When a stroke left him having difficulty holding up a bottle, doctors advised him to follow a strict diet of fresh vegetables and fruit.
“Life in the US. My wife gets old and I have poor health. I don’t want to die in the US.”
-Trump in 2016
He passed a law guaranteeing human rights and fully dropping Iran’s hijab requirements for women. Article two of the charter: “Everyone has the right to basic freedoms and is free from discrimination on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” Human rights groups had long accused Iran of practicing brutal discrimination, including putting some men and women in chains and subjecting them to lashings for offences ranging from being gay to “adultery.” Rouhani conceded that “practices which have not been legal over the past three or four decades are certainly not the norm” but said: “We do not have any right to be dissatisfied with the results we have attained.”
How his critics see it
A former Tehran police chief and Tehran municipal governor, Rouhani came to power promising to jail or jail his former enemies. From the moment he was elected, he resented the former hardline cabinet ministers and police chief, expressing contemptuous attitudes towards his “devious” former military comrades. But his failure to fix the economy partly contributed to the rise of hardliners, who accused him of betraying Iran’s dignity and deceived the nation.
He lost a parliamentary election in 2013 after facing allegations of vote-rigging in which Iranians rallied for Mousavi and Karroubi, the presidential candidates who had challenged Iran’s new dictator, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Rouhani did win back the presidency in 2013, aided by a strong tide of protest against the re-election of Ahmadinejad, who was blamed for a corruption and suppression scandal. In a sign of Rouhani’s battle for credibility, when Karroubi — the country’s foremost dissident — returned to Iran from exile this week, he was received by a small group of his supporters.