As Rouhani mounts his charm offensive at the UN General Assembly, it is worth remembering that sanctions alone did not bring about Iran's new willingness to negotiate. Nor can they ensure that the mood will last.
Sanctions have succeeded in bringing Tehran back to the negotiating table, but they are a tactic, not a strategy. Any long-term policy has to aim for a democratic Iran.
The Middle East that awaits the Clinton administration is a locus of terrorism, drugs, refugees, armaments and oil. Iran, newly pragmatic on domestic and economic issues, is not inclined toward cooperation with either its neighbors or the wider world. Iraq's Saddam Hussein wasted no time in testing the resolve of the incoming American president. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia find an increasingly educated middle class seeking a greater voice in the political process. Turkey, after half a century of avoiding outside entanglements, is a country at risk. The former Soviet republics of Central Asia are newly relevant to American policy, with Muslim fundamentalism on the rise and the nuclear arsenal of Kazakhstan still intact.