The interim nuclear agreement has pulled the Iranian regime back from the edge of disaster. But that doesn't mean its problems are over. Having raised the expectations of a restless young nation with a popular moderate president and celebrated nuclear bargain, Tehran must now deliver even more.
In his address on Tuesday, Obama noted that failure to do something about Syria's chemical weapons would embolden Iran. That argument is superficially compelling and politically appealing. It also happens to be wrong.
In hindsight, it is easy to understand why the Iranian public backed Hassan Rouhani. Less apparent is why Ayatollah Ali Khamenei let the result stand. One explanation is that he wanted to avoid a repeat of 2009. Another -- and one that better explains his permissive attitude toward Rouhani's edgy campaign -- is that the Ayatollah is ready to empower a conciliator who can repair Iran's frayed relations with the world and walk it back from economic disaster.
This weekend's nuclear negotiations will almost certainly reach a dead end. Even so, they will have been worthwhile. Without a good-faith diplomatic effort, Washington would find it harder to get other capitals on board with alternative approaches, including a military strike.
The new sanctions regime places the United States' tactics and objectives -- a negotiated end to Iran's nuclear ambitions -- at odds. In effect, the administration has backed itself into a policy of regime change, an outcome it has little ability to influence.
China, which invests heavily in Iran's energy sector, is the linchpin of the sanctions regime against Iran. If Washington wants to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons, it must transform Beijing from a silent, subordinate partner to a vigorous ally.
Which Path to Persia? presents four possible approaches for U.S. policy toward Iran: a diplomatic solution, a military response, regime change, and containment. Diplomacy breaks down into two options, persuasion or engagement.
A discussion on Iran's disputed election, the future of the Islamic Republic, and the impact of U.S. policy on reform.
Mohsen Milani, Suzanne Maloney, and Gideon Rose discuss the effects of the recent election and what the future holds for Iranian foreign and domestic policy.
No matter who emerges victorious in Iran's current struggle for political power, the future of the Islamic Republic will look nothing like the country the world has known for the last 30 years.
An annotated Foreign Affairs syllabus on Iranian politics.
The third in the U.S. Institute of Peace's series on "pivotal" states in the Muslim world, this little book adds luster to that often unappreciated category -- the short survey.