The election of Hassan Rouhani as Iran’s next president has prompted two sorts of reactions among U.S. officials and Iranian analysts. Some see in Rouhani’s victory a reformist resurgence and are urging the Obama administration to reach out in an effort to “strengthen” him, much as the Clinton administration sought to do after the election of Mohammad Khatami in 1997.
R ecently, red lines both figurative and - since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s prop-assisted speech to the United Nations two weeks ago - literal have come to dominate the Iran policy discussion. While Netanyahu was as explicit as possible in his delineation of Israel’s red line regarding Iran’s nuclear status, President Barack Obama has been reluctant to draw one. Instead, he has offered different, even contradictory, messages to two audiences: To Israel, he has pleaded for patience; to Iran and reluctant U.S.