Both pressure and diplomacy were essential in pushing Iran to the negotiating table and reaching an interim nuclear deal, Carnegie’s Karim Sadjadpour explained on CNN’s Middle East Marketplace. In addition, the arrival of President Hassan Rouhani and his Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was a game-changer. In contrast to Rouhani’s predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who united the international community against Iran, Javad Zarif started to create fissures within the international community, placing Iran’s national and economic interest before idealogical interests.
In order for there to really be a U.S.-Iran rapprochement, Sadjadpour said, Iran would have to dramatically halt some of its regional policies, mainly its rejection of Israel’s existence and its support for militant groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic jihad. However, he added that he hasn’t seen signs that Iran is ready to modify its policy towards Israel or cut lose President Assad in Syria.