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Facing Threats at Home and Abroad, Iran’s President Takes a Harder Line - WSJ

**Source: wsj.com

Jul 11, 2018 6:43 PM - 5 days, 10 hours, 48 minutes, 54 seconds ago

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/facing-threats-at-home-and-abroad-irans-president-takes-a-harder-line-1531301400

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, pictured alongside President Alain Berset in Switzerland on July 2, during his visit threatened to disrupt the flow of oil through the Persian Gulf.

Peter Klaunzer/PRESS Pool

Facing Threats at Home and Abroad, Iran’s President Takes a Harder Line

Crises provoke unity as Hassan Rouhani’s defiant tone wins praise from military, conservatives

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, pictured alongside President Alain Berset in Switzerland on July 2, during his visit threatened to disrupt the flow of oil through the Persian Gulf.

Peter Klaunzer/PRESS Pool

Small

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, pictured alongside President Alain Berset in Switzerland on July 2, threatened during his visit to disrupt the flow of oil through the Persian Gulf.

Photo:

Peter Klaunzer/PRESS Pool

BEIRUT—For much of his presidency,

Hassan Rouhani

has been at loggerheads with Iran’s military and conservative establishment, as he forged diplomatic ties with the West to break his country’s international isolation.

But now with his political survival in question, Mr. Rouhani is sounding a lot like Iran’s hard-liners.

During a visit to Switzerland last week, Mr. Rouhani responded to U.S. plans to enforce a global freeze on Iranian oil exports by threatening to disrupt the flow of Middle Eastern oil through the Persian Gulf. It was seen as a warning to the world that Iran could block the Strait of Hormuz, a waterway for about one-third of global seaborne oil trade—a threat made before by Iran’s military, but not by this president.

Iranian President Rouhani’s political fortunes largely rest with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, shown here in 2015 with the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Photo:

Office of the Iranian Supreme Leade/Associated Press

Iran’s military leaders, whose powers Mr. Rouhani has tried to curb, were suddenly praising the politically moderate president. “I kiss your hand for expressing such wise and timely comments,”

Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani,

commander of the Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force, said in an open letter to Mr. Rouhani that grabbed state media headlines. Gen. Soleimani, who is one of Iran’s most powerful military figures, added: “I am at your service to ...

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