The July 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to limit Iranian nuclear proliferation is now nearly a year old. Until recently, the urgency to complete the “Iran deal” had been explained by the Obama administration as an effort to capitalize on a new group of Iranian reformers who came to power with President Hassan Rouhani in August 2013.
The so-called moderates—labeled as such by pro-administration journalists and Middle East analysts—wished to send signals that they were ready to cease pursuit of a nuclear bomb in exchange for an American effort to end embargos, to release long impounded funds, and to allow Iran to reenter the world community. In other words, an Iranian change of heart, not U.S. acquiescence, prompted the rapprochement. And the Iranian “reformers” (apparently unlike the pro-Western Green Revolutionaries who hit the streets of Teheran in spring 2009 and were ignored by the Obama administration) apparently needed something tangible from the U.S. to empower their efforts to recalibrate Iran.
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