Can Rouhani really change Iran’s foreign policy?

Global Public Square

“Fareed Zakaria GPS,” Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with CNN about the election of Hassan Rouhani as Iranian president, how he compares with outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and who really holds power in the country.

Beyond the rhetoric, how different are these two as far as their actual beliefs and approach to the nuclear program that Iran has launched?

They’re quite different. They’re different in tone – you can see that. They’re also different in that Ahmadinejad was a layperson, whereas Rouhani comes out of the clerical establishment. It makes him probably more capable of navigating.

The problem, however, is there’s a deep structural contradiction within the Iranian system. The president doesn’t have much power on these core foreign policy and national security issues. Those are held by the supreme leader. Remember, the last two presidents of Iran have, by the end of their…

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