Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani at a during a news conference in Tehran June 17, 2013. REUTERS/Fars News/Majid Hagdos

Iran’s new president-elect Hassan Rohani is being praised as a “moderate” who might bring change to Iran and transform Tehran’s international relationships. ”What does he want?” is the question most analysts now ask, and, critically, “What can he achieve?”

The answer may be: a great deal. If he is given the right support — domestically and internationally.

For Rohani possesses the single most important qualification for any president in Tehran: He knows how to negotiate the pit of vipers that is Iranian politics.

Rohani has survived for more than 30 years in Tehran. He is the Beria of the Islamic Republic – as able as Laventy Beria to skillfully negotiate the whims of his autocratic masters to safeguard his position at all times.