As negotiators head back to Vienna this week for what they hope will be the final round of talks to reach a comprehensive agreement that resolves the international community’s concerns. President Obama’s top national security advisers put the chance of reaching an agreement this month at 40 to 50 percent.
Whether Iran is racing toward nuclear weapon capabilities is one of the most contentious foreign-policy issues challenging the West. For years a succession of Israeli governments have described Iran as just six months or so away from a bomb; last year the Netanyahu government opposed even the modest lifting of sanctions. And Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has described Iran as an “existential threat.” The Saudis have a parallel worry on regional issues.
A new strategic relationship between the United States and Iran may seem impossible and risky, yet it is also necessary and in the interests of both. Iran, EU and the United States share interests in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. After all, Iran has an interest in solving the conflicts in its neighborhood, from the war in Syria to the fight against the Islamic State. The nuclear negotiations with Iran must be resolved. Reconciliation with Iran could remake the Middle East.