America's Awkward Iran Dance

(CNN) Aaron David Miller - A fundamental shift in the balance of power is taking place in the Middle East in Iran's favor. For a start, Iran gains access to frozen assets without having to end its support to the Assad regime in Syria, stop backing the Shiite rebels in Yemen who are fighting a proxy war with the Saudis or back off from its support to Lebanese Hizbullah. More broadly, Iran is rising as Arab states face increasing challenges to state authority; restive populations and worsening economies; and, in some cases, fragmentation. Moreover, America's dependence on Iran is actually increasing. Washington, having gone all-in on the nuclear deal, needs Iran to uphold its commitments. It also needs Iranian assistance in resolving the civil war in Syria and stabilizing Iraq - complex issues that may require formal U.S. recognition of growing Iranian influence. Iran's leadership saw the nuclear agreement as a way to consolidate its power. Getting international sanctions lifted allow it to improve Iran's economic conditions and defuse public discontent. The nuclear agreement is so advantageous to Iran that it just wouldn't be in Tehran's interest to violate the terms. The writer is a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars.

2016-02-04 00:00:00

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