An Iranian girl carries an anti-U.S. placard in Tehran, January 13, 2012.
Morteza Nikoubazl / Reuters

In interviews following the announcement of the framework agreement in Geneva, U.S. President Barack Obama suggested that a final nuclear deal could be the start of a new relationship between the United States and Iran. Iran’s regional neighbors are worried about a deal for exactly these reasons—that a deal could tilt the regional balance of power in Iran’s favor.

Yet fears that a deal will lead to a major readjustment in U.S. regional strategy are overblown. Even if the administration is interested in reorienting its regional policies, there are a number of obstacles that will stand in the way. In other words, as significant as a final nuclear agreement would be, it may not prove transformative—at least not without considerable effort.

To begin with, the United States will likely pursue post-deal policies that contradict broader engagement with Iran. It is nearly a given that

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  • DALIA DASSA KAYE is the Director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy and a senior political scientist at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation.
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