What Signal Does Not Striking Syria Send?

Fisher claims that it “boosts the credibility of [Obama’s] stated position that he isn’t seeking Iran’s destruction and that he will seek detente with Iran if it first meets his long-held demands on uranium enrichment”:

Here’s where the parallel with Syria is really important: Iranian leaders distrust the United States deeply and fear that Obama would betray them by not holding up his end of the bargain. That’s been a major hurdle to any U.S.-Iran nuclear deal. But seeing Assad’s deal with Obama work out (so far) sends the message to Iran that it can trust the United States. It also sends the message that making concessions to the United States can pay off. Iran’s supreme leader has been talking a lot lately about flexibility and diplomacy toward the West. So it’s an ideal moment for Obama to be demonstrating flexibility and diplomacy toward the Middle East.

Scoblete thinks Fisher goes to far:

[I]t’s going to be very difficult for Iran to accept the idea that the Syrian deal shows the Obama administration isn’t seeking Iran’s destruction when the Pentagon talks openly about arming Syria’s opposition even with a chemical weapons deal in place. That sends exactly the opposite message to Iran, who need only look to Libya to understand the consequences of accepting a Western disarmament deal.

Larison adds:

Iran can’t help but notice that states that agree to disarmament don’t buy themselves security from attack or foreign support for their domestic opponents. The fact that the U.S. continues to threaten Iran with attack in the name of “prevention” must mean more to Tehran than the U.S. decision not to attack Syria. The recent conciliatory gestures from Rouhani are an encouraging sign that tensions between the U.S. and Iran can be reduced, but there has to be some effort on Washington’s part to reciprocate or the chance will quickly be lost. Avoiding an attack on Syria should make diplomacy with Iran more productive, but whether it produces an agreement will depend on the willingness of the U.S. to make the concessions necessary to reach one.