Time Will Tell

Time Will TellTime Will Tell

Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, interaction between Iran and the United States has hardly been what we have experienced over the past 12 months. Both sides have been demonstrating their willingness and ability to heed mutual interests and concerns and if possible build bridges between two nations.

Thus, Tehran and Washington are aware that the first step in this difficult political enterprise is to thrash out a comprehensive deal vis-à-vis Iran's nuclear program. Likewise, both capitals are hopefully rational enough to weigh the other’s action and take a reciprocal decision. Therefore, after several high-profile two-way meetings, the final and mutually-acceptable final nuclear deal remains elusive.  Now the question is what if the long-awaited and immensely crucial comprehensive deal fails to materialize before the Nov. 24 deadline. Would the two important players go back to a situation under which military hostilities could break out or will be a possibility? The answer is and must be only in the negative.

For reasons of compulsion, not convenience it must be said without mixing words that it is highly unlikely that no deal would be signed. Neither side wants to see its efforts, in which enormous time and energy have been invested, go down the drain and in the process tarnish their credibility at home and abroad.

Plainly put, there is simply no interest in both camps for a ‘No Deal’ because informed minds in the two countries do not subscribe to the poor notion that “any agreement that is not comprehensive” should be thrown out the window.”

Second, Iran’s government has gone an extra mile to change the three-decade-old rule of the game in and among influential groups and powerhouses at home that and to a great extent convinced them that lack of normal relations with the international community is no more in the cards and must be consigned to history.

For understandable reasons, the same conventional wisdom is making the rounds in the Obama White House as it mobilizes its power and influence to persuade the hard-line congress with known affiliations to genuinely support the nuclear agreement and suspend the unjust sanctions against the people of Iran.

Whatever unfolds by the end of this difficult year, negotiations coupled with intense and honest efforts will indeed play a significant role shaping the future course of Iran-US relations. It is apparent that years of unwanted and unhelpful hostility and incoherence have been replaced by meaningful and effective interaction, the value and worth of which is not lost on public opinion in the two nations.

However, there also is the possibility that when Hassan Rouhani and Barack Obama leave office, another important page in the history of bilateral ties will have been turned. Therefore, it is essential that they translate the hard-earned interaction of recent months into a permanent and binding agreement. Can the two presidents, with their reservoir of goodwill and good faith really afford to miss this historic opportunity? Only time will tell.