Hassan Rouhani (born 12 November 1948) is the seventh President of Iran since 2013, serving under Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Entering office as a pragmatic moderate in notable contrast with his extreme predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Rouhani loosened his country's notoriously shaky relationship with the United States, claiming that its nuclear system is entirely peaceful and agreeing on a deal with the west. Whether this is out of a genuine desire to open up or out of Pragmatic Villainy is a hotly debated topic.
Rouhani was born Hassan Fereydoun and changed his surname to a word which meant "cleric", though it is a mystery when he decided to change it. He was a supporter of the Iranian Revolution and was arrested several times by the Shah. During the IranIraq War, Rouhani served as the deputy commander of war and the commander of the Iranian Air Defense. In 1999, he led the crackdown against student protests and served as the first Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council. In the same year, he received a Ph.D, though the thesis may or may not have been plagiarized.
In 2013, Rouhani was elected President of Iran, replacing Ahmadinejad. There he looked to temper relationships with the west (or as he says), and acknowledged the Holocaust whereas his predecessor was a denier. He also expressed a desire for nuclear disarmament, calling on Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains suspicious and refused to sign it. There seemed to be growing optimism in Iran...at least until 2018, when the new President of the United States Donald Trump revoked the deal. Anti-Americanism returned to the country and dissatisfaction towards Rouhani was brought along.
Throughout world politics, Rouhani is a pretty polarizing figure. His supporters believe him to be a genuine Only Sane Man and Nice Guy who wants to see him as a reformer in contrast with the Ahmadinejad years, while his opponents claim that he is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who is Not So Different from the rest of the Iranian elite and hides his cruelty and oppressiveness behind a Cool Old Guy facade. Especially as his brother Hossein was arrested for multiple cases of corruption...
Tropes pertaining to Hassan Rouhani's appearances and portrayals in media:
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Seen as such by his opponents. Israeli prime minister Netanyahu literally described him as such according to one article.
- Badass Beard
- Cool Old Guy: To his supporters.
- Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: To his foreign opponents, he is this when compared with his predecessor. Ahmadinejad is young, considered an abrasive conservative, openly hostile towards the United States and an engineer who opposes clerics. Rouhani, on the other hand, is an older man and seen as a shrewd moderate who uses a friendly facade as a coverup, and a cleric.
- Enemy Mine: Tried to improve relationships with the United States.
- More Popular Replacement: Considered as such when compared to Ahmadinejad.
- Noble Top Enforcer: Many people see him as this to his boss Ali Khamenei.
- Only Sane Man: To his supporters when compared to the more extreme Iranian politicians. His opposition sees him as Not So Different.
- Perpetual Smiler: Usually seen grinning in photos.
- Smart People Wear Glasses: Wears glasses, and is considered to be levelheaded and pragmatic.
- Villain with Good Publicity: At least according to his opponents.