Both Opportunity and Peril over Iran

(Washington Post) David Ignatius - Here's the way the White House is assessing the diplomatic maneuvers that will begin with President Rouhani's address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday: Though he was initially opposed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, Rouhani now appears to have his backing, given Khamenei's call this week for "heroic flexibility" in negotiations. Rouhani has signaled that he's interested in a nuclear deal. He responded favorably to a private letter from Obama that urged bilateral U.S.-Iranian negotiations. U.S. officials caution that any nuclear deal must be ratified by the P5+1 group, which includes Russia and China, because it would require international monitoring. Regarding Syria, U.S. officials are waiting for evidence that Iran will back a real transition away from Assad, and that it will limit the future military role of Hizbullah in both Syria and Lebanon. U.S. officials wonder whether Rouhani can make policy independent of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has been Tehran's covert-action arm in Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain and elsewhere. A deal with Rouhani that isn't fully backed by Quds Force leader Qassem Suleimani would be a dangerous delusion.

2013-09-23 00:00:00

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