Speaking in an interview with Mosalas, Sadeq Zibakalam, Professor at the University of Tehran and pro-Reform analyst, said "One must not call Mr. Rouhani a Principalist. The reality is that in the past 8 years he has been a nobody.”
"But the Principalists did everything in the past 8 years. They had the executive and legislative branches, the IRIB, and other state organizations, therefore one must not consider Rouhani a Principalist as one interprets people’s dissatisfaction with the Principalist record,” he further said.
Zibakalam, who used to believe that Rouhani would not win in the first contest, said that détente with the US and EU, reconsideration of approaches to nuclear talks, and attempt to move away from a state-bound economy will be among the principal strategies of the Rouhani administration.
He added "The disqualification of Mr. Hashemi created a set of latently dissatisfied opinions which were canalized after his endorsement of Mr. Rouhani.”
Zibakalam believed that messages addressed to Khatami directly or otherwise, threatening him of disqualification if he ran for presidency, also mobilized a great portion of Reformist votes towards Rouhani.
He believed that favorable regards of Rouhani by scholars and state-independent, Reform-friendly experts; as well as Aref’s resignation made Rouhani the sole representative of Reformists in the contests.
"Even if Mr. Rouhani and the Reformists would not like to make any changes, the Principalists themselves must look for change if they do not want things to get any worse. They themselves must make a move towards freedom of the press and other sorts of civil freedom, and look up a discourse that would not so much imply enmity with others. Of course it is up to Principalists whether or not to take lessons from this defeat.”