For the first time in over thirty years tensions have begun to ease between the United States and Iran. With the change in Presidencies in both nations came a change in the nature and tone of their respective discourse, and with it the opportunity for negotiations that could result in the decontainment of Iran. Once the pre-eminent power of the Middle East, over the past three decades Iran has been subjugated by large powers who wish to contain it and smaller regional powers who wish to keep its influence subordinated. This new turn toward diplomacy has the potential to allow Iran to once again rise to a place of regional prominence. How current dominant players respond to a rising Iran will largely define the temperature in the Middle East for the next several years.
U.S. Foreign Policy vis-a-vis Iran
Bush vs Obama
Little more than twelve minutes into his Presidency, Barak Obama extended the hand of American friendship to Iran with hope that Tehran would “unclench its fist” (Parsi, 2012, p. 8). Three months later he followed up with an unprecedented video message addressing the Iranian government and citizenry. The overtures and contents of his messages represented a sharp departure from the neoconservative policies and cold tenor of the Bush administration. Moreover the very persona of Barak Obama made it difficult for the people of Iran to summarily dismiss his outreach efforts or vilify him as they had President Bush. From his ethnicity to his middle name, he defied the stereotypical American Imperialist leader (Parsi, 2012). Curious but hesitant to trust, people across across the Middle East cautiously waited for Obama to back up his promising rhetoric with real action (Gerges, 2013).
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Rezainan, Jason. (2013, December 5). “Iran seeking better ties with Arab states.” The Washington Post.
Sardora, Mohammed Reza. (2013, April 16). “Iran’s Military-Electoral Quagmire.” Srseh Sevom. Retrieved from: http://www.arsehsevom.net/2013/04/iran-quagmire/
Sly, Liz. (2013, December 3). “After Iran deal, uptick in diplomacy, violence.” The Washington Post. Retrieved from: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/iran-accord-in-geneva-followed-by-new-violence-new-diplomacy-for-mideast/2013/12/03/90131e76-5b91-11e3-801f-1f90bf692c9b_story.html
White House. (2013, November 24). Statement By The President On First Step Agreement On Iran’s Nuclear Program. Retrieved from: http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2013/11/24/president-obama-makes-statement-iran#transcript
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