Recent Developments in US-Iran Relations: Impact on the Gulf Region

Recent Developments in US-Iran Relations: Impact on the Gulf Region

  • 28 June 2003

The speaker discussed US–Iran relations saying that they
remain trapped in the difficulties that have shaped each
side’s approach to the other since the Iranian Revolution.
The strategic rationale for improved relations has long
been obvious to both sides, but neither has been able
to move decisively. Presently, three developments create
new imperatives for Washington and Tehran to develop
a more constructive relationship: domestic political
currents in Iran, the maturation of Iran’s nuclear
program, and the launch of the post September 11 War
on Terror. On the Iranian side, domestic politics have
recently shifted dramatically to a point where the Iranian
people resoundingly support a diplomatic opening to
the US, prompting a growing number of hardliners to
reconsider their previous opposition to rapprochement.
More subtly, the maturation of Iran’s nuclear program
gives Tehran incentive to carry through with an opening
before accruing the diplomatic costs of crossing the
nuclear threshold. On the American side, there is an
intensifying debate about how best to take advantage
of Iran’s internal foment, whether through engagement
or actively promoting a regime change. A revised
understanding of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and
capabilities gives greater urgency to America’s interest
in establishing a better relationship with Iran. Given the
current options, hard-nosed engagement would seem
to be the best venue for the United States to achieve its
policy goals toward Iran; however, it must be carefully
thought through to maximize its prospects for success.

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Saturday 28 June 2003

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Saturday 28 June 2003

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