Iran’s Reformist President Hassan Rouhani has been pushing international rapprochement heavily since his inauguration in August, but the government is just as active domestically.
Culture Minister Ali Jannati issued a high-profile condemnation of the censorship regime in place under the Ahmadinejad administration, saying that he was convinced that if the Quran was written today it would’ve never gotten by the censors. He ordered the government to review a number of previously rejected books.
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also withdrew official backing for the New Horizon Conference, an annual Ahmadinejad-era conference that was nominally to focus on anti-Zionism but increasingly focused on Holocaust denial. The conference regularly sparked condemnation by Western nations. The conference was cancelled, sparking condemnation from Iranian hardline politicians who had planned to take part.
The hardliners are still entrenched in Iranian society on numerous fronts, with the groups condemning attempts at diplomatic rapprochement and hardline clerics continuing to push the narrative of Western nations, particularly the US, being completely evil and impossible to negotiate with. A similar split is ongoing in the US, with hawks angrily condemning attempts at negotiation with Iran as a “trick.”
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