Hooman Majd writes: Iran and what we would once have called the great powers – the five permanent members of the UN security council plus Germany – have been engaged in negotiations over the Iranian nuclear programme for well over a decade now. At times the US has been directly involved, and at other less friendly times, indirectly – but never in the years since, to great alarm if not outright panic, the world discovered that Iran possessed a nuclear programme have we been as close to resolving its fate as we are now.
The reasons are myriad; certainly primary among them is the election of a pragmatist US president in 2008, one who, unlike his we-don’t-talk-to-evil predecessor, promised to engage directly with Iran on its nuclear program as well as on other issues of contention between the two countries, and the election of an Iranian president in 2013 who, unlike his predecessor, promised to pursue a “win-win” solution to the crisis. There are other reasons long debated in foreign policy circles. None of them, however, correctly stated or not, are important now.
What is important is to recognise that with only days left to reach a comprehensive agreement – one that would satisfy the minimum requirements of the US and Iran (and the truth is that it is only theirs that matter, despite the presence of other powers at the table) – there may not be another opportunity for a generation. This is the diplomatic perfect storm, if you will, to begin the process of US-Iranian reconciliation. [Continue reading…]