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US-Iran: Hopes of Progress Hang In the Balance

Published on: June 28th 2009 12:59:08

Despite the re-election of President Ahmadinejad, Washington is committed to exploring a new relationship with Tehran and "will continue to pursue a tough, direct dialogue between our two countries". Although the Administration might have preferred to have a different partner, Ahmadinejad’s re-election was not unexpected. Our contacts in the Administration assure us that they still expect to proceed with direct talks with Tehran; calculations remain relatively unchanged. That said, the turmoil in the outcome of the vote will complicate US efforts to engage Tehran. At the very least a pause will now ensue in US-Iranian diplomacy until the dust has settled. The US will remain cautious and restrained, but will continue to monitor the situation carefully. A key focus will be on whether the protest rallies seriously start to erode the stability of the existing political institutions. US intelligence analysts do not believe this is happening – at least as yet. A senior official told us: “We’re not going to characterize what would have been a better or worse scenario. We will deal with this as it is, not as we wish it to be. We have very serious foreign policy and national security issues at play here. That was the case yesterday. It is the case today.”

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