As prospects for Rouhani’s re-election in 1917 dim in Iran, the President may decide not to stand for a second term.

The mild euphoria in Iran following the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement has dissipated. There is a growing disappointment with the lack of tangible economic benefits in the daily lives of middle class Iranians, who supported the JCPOA. Moreover, there is a perception among some Iranians that Washington has tricked Tehran into surrendering its sovereignty on nuclear issues. These same Iranians also believe that America is obstructing the return of Iranian assets, discouraging normalization of commerce, and preventing access to international banking services. European banks continue to keep their distance from financing the many agreements signed between Iran and EU member state companies. These banks fear that regime rogue behavior will invite additional sanctions by the U.S. Congress, if not by a new administration in Washington following the November Presidential elections.

Despite the victory by Rouhani’s governing moderate coalition in the recent Majles (Consultative Assembly) election, opposition elements remain strong inside the legislative body. Hardliner opposition is even stronger inside the regime’s non-democratic institutions. For the Rouhani-Zarif duo, the bloom is off the rose. Reactionary leaders in the conservative media, clerical circles, and security agencies have made clear their determination to prevent any additional warming of relations with the West, particularly the United States.

Supreme Leader Khamenei signaled the end of the “Tehran Spring” with a significant policy speech on the Persian New Year. Khamenei emphasized in this speech that Iran will accelerate the implementation of its “Economy of Resistance” with or without foreign investment. Conservative spokesmen throughout Iran’s theocratic and hardline political bureaucracy immediately echoed the Supreme Leader’s remarks. They warned President Rouhani to follow the line of the Rahbar (Supreme Leader) and implement the economy of resistance. Even reformist media outlets bemoaned the lack of tangible benefits for Iran from Rouhani’s policy of opening to the West.

Already possible rival candidates for Iran’s presidency are testing the waters. Two conservative contenders, former President Ahmadinejad and Principalist Party powerhouse Gholam Ali Haddad Adel are emerging. Two moderate contenders also may be interested. They are, former President Mohammad Khatami as well as former Vice President Mohamad Reza Aref. Both seempoised appear poised to step in, should Rouhani decide that election to a second term is too much of a long shot. Current trends indicate that support for populist polices favored by the Ahmadinejad era are once again gaining ground.

The Rouhani Presidency has seen its finest hour quickly pass.