Skip to main content

Hassan Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
Two news reports may signal a genuine breakthrough in U.S. relations with Iran, and in Iran's relations with the world. First there is this:
Next week's U.N. General Assembly meetings will offer U.S. President Barack Obama a chance to extend a hand, both literally and figuratively, to new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

The White House said on Thursday a meeting was possible, the first between U.S. and Iranian presidents since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

"It's possible, but it has always been possible," White House spokesman Jay Carney said. "The extended hand has been there from the moment the president was sworn in."

It looks more likely to be a handshake and brief exchange of pleasantries - probably in the U.N. building - rather than a formal meeting where the leaders could talk at greater length.

Even a handshake would be huge. Which could lead to this:
Iran’s leaders, seizing on perceived flexibility in a private letter from President Obama, have decided to gamble on forging a swift agreement over their nuclear program with the goal of ending crippling sanctions, a prominent adviser to the Iranian leadership said Thursday.

The adviser, who participated in top-level discussions of the country’s diplomatic strategy, said that Mr. Obama’s letter, delivered to Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, about three weeks ago, promised relief from sanctions if Tehran demonstrated a willingness to “cooperate with the international community, keep your commitments and remove ambiguities.” The text of the letter has not been made public, but the adviser described its contents in an interview in his office on Thursday.

The U.S. is not promising the quick relief from the sanctions that Iran is seeking, and there are, of course, huge dangers to any rapprochement.
Mr. Mohebbian and other officials and analysts said that Iran was focused on getting quick relief from financial sanctions because they have cut it off from the international banking system, and that in exchange it might be willing to curb its nuclear enrichment program. Some in the leadership are also worried that if nuclear talks do not yield quick results, Iran’s hard-line clerics and military men — currently sidelined — could attack Mr. Rouhani as a sellout and clip his political wings.

And of course, any contacts between the United States and Iran are fraught with political risks for Iran's reform-minded new president, but President Obama has seemed to understand those risks, and the ugly history behind them, in a way the Republicans do not.

Reestablishing any relations with Iran would be a monumental achievement, and any such effort will no doubt bring criticism from the American right wing, while being a tightrope walk for Rouhani. But the opportunity seems genuine. And it can start with a handshake. Which could signal a historic change.

Originally posted to Laurence Lewis on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 09:06 AM PDT.

Also republished by Good News and Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, bink, Ducktape, Trix, Paleo, ferg, native, Sherri in TX, Jay C, eeff, RFK Lives, missLotus, Wee Mama, whenwego, ehavenot, highacidity, chuckvw, oceanview, Texknight, psnyder, businessdem, virginislandsguy, hazzcon, liberte, JayBat, side pocket, tomjones, Sybil Liberty, radarlady, 3goldens, freakofsociety, blueyedace2, SherwoodB, ZappoDave, Brooke In Seattle, sunbro, Tunk, FindingMyVoice, Indiana Bob, mightymouse, Jim P, begone, Nance, 417els, edwardssl, Kimball Cross, mr crabby, koNko, AoT, blueoasis, SherriG, eglantine, gpoutney, Rosaura, JVolvo, nother lurker, bstotts, daeros, cpresley, fabucat, puakev, wildweasels, Aunt Martha, bobswern, jnhobbs, gchaucer2, Wreck Smurfy, leonard145b, TomP, seriously70, HappyinNM, bythesea, elwior, Fe Bongolan, filby, VL Baker, Lujane, hwmnbn, smartdemmg, SottoVoce, No Exit, Gemina13, KrazyKitten, JBL55, BvueDem, Throw The Bums Out, I give in to sin, Bonsai66, glitterlust, mdmslle, rebel ga, Railfan, roadbear, CS in AZ, Lost and Found, Dexter, Dingodude, elginblt, nirbama, DrTerwilliker, ericlewis0, annieli, kerflooey, slowbutsure, implicate order, FarWestGirl, PorridgeGun, AgavePup, thomask, MRA NY, dibsa, VTCC73, ratcityreprobate, Cpqemp, CoyoteMarti, DEMonrat ankle biter, Davui, anodnhajo, IndieGuy, Eric Nelson, S F Hippie, Deep Texan, AreDeutz, jan4insight, reginahny, TBug, MartyM, Buckeye54, Hammerhand, Panacea Paola, argomd, Linda1961, poopdogcomedy, Witgren, pipercity1, ekgrulez1, eagleray, OldSoldier99, Love Me Slender, Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees, Gurnt, anglobostonian

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site