In other words, Rouhani is not what Khamenei wants, but the supreme leader nonetheless sees himself as having no choice but to tolerate him. On the first day of the Iranian year 1395 (March 20, 2016), and only hours after Rouhani’s Iranian New Year message and the proposal of the idea of a “second JCPOA,” Khamenei very clearly described the idea as a creation of Iran’s enemies and called it dangerous.
Yet despite the differing views of the two men, Khamenei has openly stated, “Everyone should know that I support and confirm the [Rouhani] government and will use all my power to assist the administration and trust its high-ranking officials.”
Fourth, history shows that Iranians usually re-elect sitting presidents. With the exception of Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, Iran’s first president after the 1979 Islamic Revolution who was impeached in 1981, and his successor Mohammad Ali Rajai, who was assassinated in 1981, all other presidents of the Islamic Republic have served two consecutive terms.
This includes Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (1989-1997), Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005) and Ahmadinejad (2005-2013), each of whom pursued a different discourse. Though it was speculated that another Reformist would take office following Khatami’s second term, given Khatami’s great popularity in Iran, conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad found his way to the presidential palace by pursuing a discourse of justice and supporting the poor.