US officials are trying to spin Iran’s elections, and the victory of President-elect Hassan Rohani as proof that their ongoing sanctions are “working,” and that the economic damage done scared Iranian voters into electing the diplomacy-minded cleric.
Rohani ran a campaign of domestic reform along with promising to focus on diplomacy and international rapprochement. Whether this is really what the US “wants” remains to be seen, however, as does their response to Rohani’s election.
Administration officials have been nearly mum on their intentions, and while experts are urging them to respond to overtures with a serious “olive branch,” hawks are taking the “sanctions work” message as justification for a never-ending policy of increasing sanctions.
Then there’s Israel, which has reacted angrily to the elections, expressing fear that a pro-diplomacy Iran might lead to actual diplomacy and get in the way of their goals of a war.
If Iran’s election of Rohani was indeed a response to US sanctions, an unproven assertion, it seems that it is not the response the hawks were hoping for, and whether it will mean anything depends entirely on how much Israel can push the idea of war as an end unto itself.