Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, who was newly elected to office this past August, recently announced his plan to work with the West in efforts to open diplomatic channels with the United States.
Rouhani claims that he will never develop nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, which has been a main point of contention between the two nations in the past.
Now, the big question is: Will the two nations actually be able to heal their notoriously oppositional and hostile relationship?
All eyes will be on President Barack Obama and Rouhani, who are both attending next week’s annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. The Obama administration is hopeful regarding Rouhani’s promises, yet the administration is still cautious.
We can hope that this step forward can lead to sanction relief, but Obama’s administration wants to see some harder commitments from Iran in order to secure promises for the future and ensure the most successful outcomes for both countries.
With a history of mistrust between Iran and the United States, making amends will undoubtedly be a long and difficult process.
It will be challenging to sense how far the attempted sanction relief will go until both presidents meet with each other—that is, if they end up meeting at all.
Yet, even though there have been failed attempts of trust between the two nations in the past, today’s political situation in both countries has now created an environment for amends to be made.
Political Science Professor Tom Lobe commented, “President Rouhani’s election, his multifaceted initiatives, the seeming support he has from Ayatollah Khameini, all signal a dramatic change of tone, and potentially a major shift in policy.”
Lobe went on to add, “President Obama may be reciprocating, and begin the arduous process of diplomatic negotiations on a range of issues dividing the U.S. and Iran. But we’ve been here several times before in the last 12 years, and each time either the U.S. or Iran were unwilling to make honest concessions. We can only hope that both sides see that the time for compromise is now, especially in the face of the endless and horrific conflict in Syria and the lingering death of the Arab Spring.”
This is just the first step in the process of the potential end of the United States and Iran’s sanctions. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a long road to permanent trust between the United States and Iran, securing safety and a beneficial diplomatic understanding for both nations for the future to come.