For better U.S.-Iran relations, the Iranian people are the key

Trita Parsi writes: American neoconservatives, Israeli hawks, and Arab dictators alike are haunted by the same nightmare: After a nuclear deal, the US and Iran will gravitate toward an unspoken alliance, after which the US will betray its security commitments to historical allies in the Middle East.

No such thing will happen. The US and Iran have many common interests in the region, and while there is a desire for increased collaboration, neither side is ready for an alliance, unspoken or otherwise.

The Iranians prefer to maintain their role as the world’s chief critics of US policy. Open alliance with Washington would be to Tehran’s disadvantage, the regime believes. On the US side, antipathy toward Iran runs deep within the federal government and legislative bodies, and political resistance to anything resembling formal partnership with a clerical regime in Tehran would be overwhelming.

But Iran is more than just a government. At some point, Washington needs to look past the Islamic Republic’s current political system, and toward its vibrant society. Indeed, beyond the politics of the two governments, all the ingredients for strong cooperation are present. [Continue reading…]

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