Can Rouhani Deliver?

As world powers meet in Geneva to begin nuclear talks with Iran, the world awaits the follow-up to the phone call between Rouhani and US President Barack Obama. With Rouhani, unlike his moderate predecessors, supported by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a breakthrough in bilateral relations could be near.

NEW YORK – As world powers meet in Geneva to begin nuclear talks with Iran, the world awaits the follow-up to the phone call between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and US President Barack Obama after Rouhani’s visit to the United Nations General Assembly last month. That brief conversation – the first between the two countries’ presidents since 1979 – recalls the last attempt to revive bilateral diplomacy, undertaken 12 years ago by Iran’s then-President Mohammad Khatami. In both episodes, a missing handshake symbolized the countries’ persistent rift.

Back then, Khatami and Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi “went shopping,” rather than attend a cultural event at the Asia Society and risk crossing paths – and shaking hands – with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. This time, despite Iran’s avoidance of a presidential handshake at the UN, Rouhani delivered a major address at the Asia Society asserting that his government would pursue policies of “moderation and common sense” and would be willing to work with the West on resolving questions about its nuclear program.

Moreover, handshakes were exchanged by the two countries’ foreign ministers, when John Kerry and Javad Zarif, joined by the European Union’s top diplomat, Catherine Ashton, held a formal meeting to organize the upcoming nuclear negotiations in Geneva. Kerry and Zarif shook hands again when the two met separately.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/lz078ec;
  1. Television sets showing a news report on Xi Jinping's speech Anthony Wallace/Getty Images

    Empowering China’s New Miracle Workers

    China’s success in the next five years will depend largely on how well the government manages the tensions underlying its complex agenda. In particular, China’s leaders will need to balance a muscular Communist Party, setting standards and protecting the public interest, with an empowered market, driving the economy into the future.

  2. United States Supreme Court Hisham Ibrahim/Getty Images

    The Sovereignty that Really Matters

    The preference of some countries to isolate themselves within their borders is anachronistic and self-defeating, but it would be a serious mistake for others, fearing contagion, to respond by imposing strict isolation. Even in states that have succumbed to reductionist discourses, much of the population has not.

  3.  The price of Euro and US dollars Daniel Leal Olivas/Getty Images

    Resurrecting Creditor Adjustment

    When the Bretton Woods Agreement was hashed out in 1944, it was agreed that countries with current-account deficits should be able to limit temporarily purchases of goods from countries running surpluses. In the ensuing 73 years, the so-called "scarce-currency clause" has been largely forgotten; but it may be time to bring it back.

  4. Leaders of the Russian Revolution in Red Square Keystone France/Getty Images

    Trump’s Republican Collaborators

    Republican leaders have a choice: they can either continue to collaborate with President Donald Trump, thereby courting disaster, or they can renounce him, finally putting their country’s democracy ahead of loyalty to their party tribe. They are hardly the first politicians to face such a decision.

  5. Angela Merkel, Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron John Thys/Getty Images

    How Money Could Unblock the Brexit Talks

    With talks on the UK's withdrawal from the EU stalled, negotiators should shift to the temporary “transition” Prime Minister Theresa May officially requested last month. Above all, the negotiators should focus immediately on the British budget contributions that will be required to make an orderly transition possible.

  6. Ksenia Sobchak Mladlen Antonov/Getty Images

    Is Vladimir Putin Losing His Grip?

    In recent decades, as President Vladimir Putin has entrenched his authority, Russia has seemed to be moving backward socially and economically. But while the Kremlin knows that it must reverse this trajectory, genuine reform would be incompatible with the kleptocratic character of Putin’s regime.

  7. Right-wing parties hold conference Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

    Rage Against the Elites

    • With the advantage of hindsight, four recent books bring to bear diverse perspectives on the West’s current populist moment. 
    • Taken together, they help us to understand what that moment is and how it arrived, while reminding us that history is contingent, not inevitable


    Global Bookmark

    Distinguished thinkers review the world’s most important new books on politics, economics, and international affairs.

  8. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Bill Clark/Getty Images

    Don’t Bank on Bankruptcy for Banks

    As a part of their efforts to roll back the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, congressional Republicans have approved a measure that would have courts, rather than regulators, oversee megabank bankruptcies. It is now up to the Trump administration to decide if it wants to set the stage for a repeat of the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008.