While progress on the nuclear deal is making it less unthinkable for the US and Iran to have regular diplomatic contact, the two nations appear to be talking around each other on regional issues.
The State Department still surprised many, saying they were open to the possibility of talking to Iran about “regional stability” centering on Syria, saying they would allow Iran to participate in Syrian peace talks if they made unnamed policy changes.
The UN already announced last week that they intend to invite Iran to the next round of peace talks, with or without the American imprimatur. That the State Department is willing to countenance this at all, instead of just railing at it, suggests some progress.
But Iran and the US are on the same side in the ISIS war in Syria and Iraq, whether or not US officials care to admit it. That makes their willingness to talk rather silly, since talking is the obvious thing to do.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry, by contrast, wants to talk with the US about Yemen, a topic that would be a bit more productive since Iran is calling for a ceasefire and the US has been increasingly joining the Saudi war. There’s conflict there, which would make the talks worth having.
Of course, the State Department is having none of it, railing against Iran “promoting instability” in Yemen, and reiterating their support for the Saudi war.