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Iranian Politics After the Deal

Why It Is Time for Optimism

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani attends a news conference at a hotel in Shanghai, May 22, 2014. Carlos Barria / Reuters

The historic nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 negotiators announced on July 14 is a transformative event for the Middle East, a victory for U.S. nonproliferation strategy, and will surely be one of U.S. President Barack Obama’s most consequential foreign policy achievements.

Auspicious as this occasion is, though, there is no guarantee that the agreement will survive, given how contentious the implementation phase is likely to be. Nor can the deal by itself end the lingering animosity between the United States and Iran, which predates the nuclear program. The landmark nuclear agreement will only be sustainable if it continues to serve the national interests of both countries. And here, if they think beyond their strategic divorce in 1979 and the recent deal itself, they will realize that they have much to gain from improved ties—and that the agreement will be crucial to this process.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with foreign ministers and delegations from Germany, France, China, Britain, Russia and the European Union at a hotel in Vienna, July 13, 2015.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with foreign ministers and delegations from Germany, France, China, Britain, Russia and the European Union at a hotel in Vienna, July 13, 2015. Carlos Barria / Reuters
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