Iranian President Hassan Rohani’s first budget was approved in parliament on 9 February with a very comfortable majority (166 votes for, 25 against). This signals strong backing from Iran’s top leadership including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for Mr Rohani’s efforts to reach a solution on international nuclear negotiations, opening the way for improved economic conditions in Iran (see p2).

Parliament’s accommodating behavior today is in sharp contrast with the days of his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who often faced a hostile parliament on account of his whimsical style of governance. (CONTINUED - 713 WORDS)