Iranian President Hassan Rohani ran his entire election campaign around the idea of negotiating a rapprochement with the United States, and has been pushing for direct talks during his upcoming visit to New York, assuring that Iran will never attempt to make a nuclear weapon and confirming that he had been broad powers to unilaterally negotiate a settlement.
Anyone who’s paid attention to the last 35 years of US-Iranian relations knows what happens next: the White House has announced that Iran’s promises are “clearly not sufficient,” and says that they have no plans to meet with Rohani.
That’s just how the US rolls with respect to Iran. In 1995 President Rafsanjani offered full normalization of relations and was spurned. In 2003 President Khatami’s inability to convince the Bush Administration to the negotiating table set the stage for one of the biggest hardliner election victories in years.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been intensely campaigning against peace talks on general principle, insisting anything offered by Iran must be a plot and that Rohani’s offers to make broad, permanent deals should be rejected in favor of more threats.
Rejecting Iranian peace offers is certainly in the US government’s wheelhouse, and even without Netanyahu egging them on, spurning peace in favor of hostility seems to be the administration’s first instinct, suggesting that Rohani’s efforts at rapprochement will face the same problems as everyone else’s.