Opening the Door for New Iran Policy

In Iran, the election of Dr. Hassan Rouhani may signal the beginning of a change toward more openness. For the U.S., his election may unlock a door for negotiations that had remained firmly shut under former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Writing for The Jewish Chronicle, Ploughshares Fund Director of Policy and Government Affairs Joel Rubin see this as the time for new engagement with Iran. In his piece he writes:

Just when you think you understand how American and Iranian politics work, a lightning bolt comes from the sky to shake up conventional wisdom.

That lightning bolt appeared last month, when the Iranian people elected a new president, Dr. Hassan Rouhani, on the first ballot. No one — not even Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — expected this outcome. But the Iranian people had had enough, enough of a failing economy, enough of international isolation, enough of repression. And so they rejected the hardliners competing in the election in favor of the one candidate who called for an improved Iranian relationship with the West, a relaxation of the Iranian security state, and an improved economy to meet the needs of Iran’s youthful population.

Washington took notice.

In response to the election, 131 Members of the House of Representatives, including 17 Republicans and a majority of the Democrats — sent a letter to President Obama, asking him to use diplomatic negotiations to “…test whether Dr. Rouhani’s election represents a real opportunity for progress toward a verifiable, enforceable agreement on Iran’s nuclear program that ensures the country does not acquire a nuclear weapon.”

Read the full article at The Jewish Chronicle.

Photo by: Christiaan Triebert