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Iran at the crossroads?

New President Hassan Rouhani could spur diplomatic thaw

Last Updated: Sept. 20, 2013

Observers have speculated Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's moderate stance will bring about a diplomatic thaw, easing fears about the country's nuclear program. Under former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, tensions increased as the U.S. and its allies charged that Tehran was possibly building a nuclear bomb. Iran has denied the charges, saying its nuclear facilities are dedicated to energy generation.

But as unemployment and inflation rates rise in Iran, Rouhani has sought discussions about the sanctions levied by the U.S. and Europe. Rouhani has exchanged letters with U.S. President Barack Obama in what many suggest could be a new chapter in nuclear negotiations. Here is a snapshot of Iran, showing its key demographics and a look at the country's political system.

The region

Inside Iran's political system

Sources: CBC News stories, wire service reports, Iran election Watch, CIA world factbook, The World Bank, Election Guide, Human Rights WATCH U.S. State Department

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