Northern Tehran City with Alborz Mountains in the background, Iran. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
TEHRAN — As Iranians responded to the victory of the cleric Hassan Rowhani in the country’s presidential race over the weekend by erupting into street parties not seen in many years, it almost seemed as if some sort of reformist revolution could be under way.
Across the country, drivers honked horns, men danced to pop music and women clapped, celebrating Mr. Rowhani’s campaign pledges to bring more freedom and better relations with the outside world.
But Mr. Rowhani, 64, is no renegade reformist, voted in while Iran’s leaders were not paying attention. Instead, his political life has been spent at the center of Iran’s conservative establishment, from well before Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini led the Islamic Revolution in the 1970s. And analysts say that Mr. Rowhani’s first priority will be mediating the disturbed relationship between that leadership and Iran’s citizens, not carrying out major change.
Even his nickname — “the diplomat sheik” — is testament to his role as a pragmatist seeking conciliation for the Islamic leadership. Whether in dealing with protesting students, the aftermath of devastating earthquakes or, in his stint as nuclear negotiator, working to ease international pressure as Iran moved forward with its nuclear program, Mr. Rowhani has worked to find practical ways to help advance the leadership’s goals.
challenged Mitt Romney on foreign policy in their final campaign debate Monday night, saying, “Every time you’ve offered an opinion you’ve been wrong.”
The Republican coolly responded, “Attacking me is not an agenda” for dealing with a dangerous world.
Romney took the offensive, too. When Obama said the U.S. and its allies have imposed crippling sanctions on Iran to halt nuclear weapons development, the Republican challenger responded that the U.S. should have done more.
He declared repeatedly, “We’re four years closer to a nuclear Iran.”
The global oil balance is already tighter than forecasters expected just a few months ago, because of disruptions in oil output from nations outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and by the effectiveness of sanctions against Iran, which is exporting about 750,000 to 1 million fewer barrels a day than it was a year ago.
“The story has been one of a strong stock market, a weaker dollar and continuing geopolitical events,” said Adam Sieminski, head of the federal Energy Information Administration.
He said political strife in Syria, Yemen and Sudan cut off some supplies while the latest price surge was “driven by central bank moves in both the U.S. and Europe” and by “optimism about the economy, which changes expectations about what demand will be going over the course of the next six to 12 months.”
Prices at the pump have been inching higher all month, but don’t expect the trend to continue, according to AAA.
The summer driving season spikes demand and tends to push prices higher, and the recent rise may have been partly fueled by concerns about a possible confrontation with Iran over its nuclear program, according to the drivers’ association.
The outlook, though, is for prices to stay level through Labor Day.
At the end of June, a gallon of regular averaged 3.40 a gallon in the five-county Philadelphia area.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Gasoline prices jumped in January, leading overall consumer prices higher and offering a reminder of the risks energy costs pose to the economic recovery.
Despite the warning signal, overall consumer prices rose just 0.2 percent, the Labor Department said on Friday, which is unlikely to ring alarm bells at the Federal Reserve.
Strong jobs and factory data have eased worries U.S. economic growth could slow sharply, but tensions between Western nations and Iran still threaten to hand the economy a repeat of 2011 when a spike in energy prices hit the recovery hard.