Obama Closer to Goal of Improving Iran Ties

Obama Closer to Goal of Improving Iran Ties
Obama Closer to Goal of Improving Iran Ties

In an analysis published on Tuesday, the Associated Press commented that US President Barack Obama is closer to the goal of improving US relations with Iran than his predecessors, but there are significant obstacles in the way.           

The article wrote, "As President Barack Obama’s own second term winds down, he is getting closer than… his immediate predecessors to the goal of improving US relations with Iran. But he’s not there yet, and plenty stands in the way, including a messy and brutal conflict in Iraq and Syria."     

"As high-stakes negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program resume this week in Vienna ahead of a November 24 deadline for a deal, the ghosts of previous failed attempts at American-Iranian rapprochement loom large. So do very real and current concerns, not least of which are the rise of the Islamic State militancy in Iraq and Syria, fierce opposition to a deal from US ally Israel and open hostility from many in Congress and (critics) in Iran."

"Those issues, combined with the already frustratingly complex nature of the negotiations, have made for slow going and increased the chances of something less than a full deal being struck by next Monday’s target."

The article also said, "Obama and his top aides deny that anything other than resolving the nuclear deadlock is in play in the negotiations. Yet, they also acknowledge a deal is key to a broader improvement in relations, something Obama is reported to have conveyed in a recent letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei."  

Elsewhere, the article said decades of mistrust and suspicion weigh heavily on the talks.   

"For the past 14 years, successive American administrations have tried to undo some of that damage. At the same time, US officials have ratcheted up pressure on Iran by imposing sanctions."

"The election of Hassan Rouhani on a reformist platform to succeed Ahmadinejad swung the pendulum back. Obama initiated secret discussions with Iran in 2013 that led to an agreement in November on an interim nuclear deal in exchange for limited sanctions relief," the article said, adding that despite this high point of rapprochement, overcoming obstacles "to restore even a semblance of normalcy to the relationship may require more than a nuclear agreement… as both sides suspect the other may renege on a deal."