As part of our comprehensive year-end coverage, Epoch Times editors have made a selection of stories that we believe are significantly changing the world. The stories are ranked from No. 20, having the least impact, to No. 1—our top pick.
Each story is based on a major news story of 2013 that will have lasting impact into 2014 and beyond. Check back daily as we countdown to Jan. 1st and our New Year.
After more than a 30-year deadlock in diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran, a groundbreaking nuclear deal was reached in November. The deal came after moderate Hassan Rouhani was elected Iranian president in June.
Eager to ease international sanctions imposed on Iran over its uranium enrichment, Rouhani was quick to seek a deal with the United States. Even before official talks between Iran and six world powers took place in Geneva, the United States and Iran were holding secret talks on the issue for months.
Under the deal, which has a trial period of six months, Iran is to freeze part of its uranium enrichment activities. In response, some sanctions on Iran will be lifted.
In 2014 it will become clear if Iran honors the commitments made. If the deal proves successful it is likely to gain greater support in the United States, where many lawmakers believe the deal was reached prematurely without any fundamental change to Iran’s nuclear program.
Likewise, if the lifting of some of the sanctions improves the Iranian economy, public support is expected to grow for Rouhani, and it will be harder for Iranian hard-liners to object to Rouhani’s outreach to the West.
However, the real question is whether Rouhani will continue to have the support of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has proven in the past that he would change his political support.