This weekend Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s term in office came to an end, with President Hassan Rohani’s inauguration ushering in what he hopes will be an era of aggressive diplomacy with the US.
Publicly that’s being endorsed by President Obama, as the White House says Rohani will find a “willing partner in the United States” if he moves toward placating their many, many concerns.
That’s a big if though, and with the Senate openly warning against more diplomacy and calling for renewed military threats, the appetite for talks seems unclear at rest. Even Rohani is recognizing this obstacle, saying that at times the US seems to be seeking an excuse to confront anyone they don’t consider friends.
The prospect for serious negotiations has some appeal on both sides, to be sure, but with President Obama making his dependent on Iran fulfilling the US vision of “international obligations” (scrapping their civilian nuclear program) and Rohani wanting the US to move away from sanctions, both are staking all their hopes on something the other side is likely unwilling to even consider.