Even if Rouhani is a nuclear moderate, he is not rolling back Iran’s war against the West
In his column yesterday, Hassan does Manhattan, Thomas Friedman wrote about Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani:
1) He’s not here by accident. That is, this Iranian charm offensive is not because Rouhani, unlike his predecessor, went to charm school. Powerful domestic pressures have driven him here. 2) We are finally going to see a serious, face-to-face negotiation between top Iranian and American diplomats over Iran’s nuclear program. 3) I have no clue and would not dare predict whether these negotiations will lead to a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear crisis. 4) The fact that we’re now going to see serious negotiations raises the stakes considerably. It means that if talks fail, President Obama will face a real choice between military action and permanent sanctions that could help turn Iran into a giant failed state. 5) Pray that option 2 succeeds.While there are no doubt domestic considerations that drove Rouhani to appear conciliatory, there’s one reason that Friedman left out.