Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves to his supporters in the Iranian province of Kermanshah
Courtesy Reuters

The apparent restraint of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday afternoon seems to have disappointed many Western observers. They charge Rouhani with failing to show much of the "heroic flexibility" that Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, recently claimed would characterize Iran's new diplomatic strategy toward the West. In truth, the West should not be so surprised. Iran's diplomatic offensive of recent weeks is, in fact, a significant shift -- just not in the way most Westerners have seemed to think.

"Heroic flexibility” has never been what most foreign commentators believe it is.

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.

Subscribe