Trita Parsi explains the significance of last week’s Obama-Rouhani phone call:
Abbas Milani is cautiously optimistic after last week’s developments:
While Rouhani repeatedly claimed that he has unfettered authority to solve the diplomatic impasse with the U.S., attacks [against Rouhani by Iranian hardliners] on him upon his return home indicate that Khamenei wants to keep his options open. The outlines of a deal on the nuclear issue have more than once been floated by Iranian regime’s past or present officials: continue enrichment at three to five percent, stop enrichment at twenty percent, allow international control of Iran’s stockpile of twenty percent enriched uranium, and finally accommodate more intrusive inspections of all nuclear sites in return for lifting of sanctions. At the same time, for Khamenei, a sine qua non is his ability to sell the deal to the Iranians as a “victory.” The call was the first direct attempt by Rouhani to make the deal. It is as much folly not to celebrate it as something of a milestone, as it is premature to declare it a historic watershed. Only real, not imagined or promised, actions and changes determine watershed events.