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• Obama inherited a very intractable legacy from George W. Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’ policy.

• The Iranians were not prepared for Obama’s early policy of outreach and it produced few direct results, but may have helped to convince Russia and China to support more stringent sanctions.

• Obama still reaffirms his commitment to resolving the issue diplomatically.

• There is disagreement between the US and Israel over the issue of Iran’s ‘red lines’, and the US remains ambiguous about the issue of nuclear latency.

• President Obama during his second term in office is constrained by the Republican majority in the House of Representatives.

• Whilst the new president of Iran, due to be elected on 14 June 2013, will play a role in Iranian foreign policy, it is the Supreme Leader Khamene'i who has the last word. The election is therefore unlikely to lead to a change in Iran’s stance on the nuclear issue.

• The Guardian Council permitted only eight candidates to run in this year’s presidential elections, banning the former President of Iran, Rafsanjani, and also a close ally of President Ahmadinejad.

• The presidential election will be little more than a run-off between ultra-conservatives aligned with the Supreme Leader. Iran’s current nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili is Khamene'i’s favourite.

• There will not be the same level of dissent as around the 2009 elections.

• Frustrated by disagreements with Ahmadinejad, the Supreme Leader may even rid Iran of the current presidential system of governance, thus strengthening his hold on power in Iran.


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