Writing at The American Conservative, Scott McConnell tells readers that recently elected president Rouhani believes a negotiated settlement with America is possible. Scott speaks of a mix of enhanced inspections, the end of sanctions, and recognition of the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic. From what I have been told by business people who travel to Iran, the Iranian people would be all for such a deal. And indeed the new president won election on just such a platform.
All indications are that Iran is sharply divided on the Syria question, as divided as is the United States. There are hard-liners there, men convinced that the United States is eternally hostile, that acquiring a nuclear weapon is the only way to protect Iran from American aggression. Given Iran’s history with the U.S. and recent American policies in the region, one has to acknowledge this is a not entirely delusional perception. On the other hand, there is the recently elected president, Rouhani, and his foreign minister, Zariv. These Iranians believe a negotiated settlement with America is possible—something along the lines of enhanced inspections, the end of sanctions, American recognition of the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic. These Iranians, politically ascendant after the election of Rouhani, are signalling they are disgusted with Syria’s Assad and are engaging in twitter diplomacy in an effort to show the West that this Iranian government really is different. But how powerful is this faction? Would it remain ascendant after an American onslaught on Damascus, a long-term Iranian ally? Or would the American attack reinforce in Teheran the notion that Iran can find no security through diplomacy, that its only real option is to pursue nuclear deterrence?